Multicolor Detectors for Ultrasensitive Long-Wave Imaging Cameras

A document describes a zeptobolometer for ultrasensitive, long-wavelength sensors. GSFC is developing pixels based on the zeptobolometer design that sense three THz wavelengths simultaneously.

Two innovations are described in the document: (1) a quasiparticle (QO) filter arrangement that enables a compact multicolor spectrum at the focal plane, and (2) a THz antenna readout by up to three bolometers. The innovations enable high efficiency by greatly reducing high, frequency- dependent microstrip losses, and pixel compactness by eliminating the need for bulky filters in the focal plane.

The zeptobolometer is a small TES bolometer, on the scale of a few microns, which can be readily coupled through an impedance-matching resistor to a metal or dielectric antenna. The bolometer is voltage-biased in its superconducting transition, allowing the use of superconducting RF multiplexers to read out large arrays. The antenna is geometrically tapped at three locations so as to efficiently couple radiation of three distinct wavelengths to the individual TESs. The transition edge hot electrons in metals offer a simple, compact arrangement for antenna readout, which can be crucial in the THz where line losses at high frequencies can be substantial. A metallic grill filter acts as a high-pass filter and directs the low-frequency components to a location where they will be absorbed. The absorption spectrum shows that three well-separated THz bands are feasible. The filters can be made from high-purity dielectrics such as float zone silicon or sapphire.

This work was done by Ari Brown, Dominic Benford, James Chervenak, and Edward Wollack of Goddard Space Flight Center. GSC-15672-1

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