A document describes the fabrication of a two-dimensional microcalorimeter array that uses microstrip wiring and integrated heat sinking to enable use of high-performance pixel designs at kilo - pixel scales (32×32). Each pixel is the high-resolution design employed in small-array test devices, which consist of a Mo/Au TES (transition edge sensor) on a silicon nitride membrane and an electroplated Bi/Au absorber. The pixel pitch within the array is 300 microns, where absorbers 290 microns on a side are cantilevered over a silicon support grid with 100-micron-wide beams. The high-density wiring and heat sinking are both carried by the silicon beams to the edge of the array. All pixels are wired out to the array edge.

ECR (electron cyclotron resonance) oxide underlayer is deposited underneath the sensor layer. The sensor (TES) layer consists of a superconducting underlayer and a normal metal top layer. If the sensor is deposited at high temperature, the ECR oxide can be vacuum annealed to improve film smoothness and etch characteristics.

This process is designed to recover high-resolution, single-pixel x-ray microcalorimeter performance within arrays of arbitrarily large format. The critical current limiting parts of the circuit are designed to have simple interfaces that can be independently verified. The lead-to-TES interface is entirely determined in a single layer that has multiple points of interface to maximize critical current. The lead rails that overlap the TES sensor element contact both the superconducting underlayer and the TES normal metal.

This work was done by James Chervenak of Goddard Space Flight Center. GSC-15915-1

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the January, 2012 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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