A fabrication process has been developed for cryogenic in-line filtering for the bias and readout of ultrasensitive cryogenic bolometers for millimeter and submillimeter wavelengths. The design is a microstripline filter that cuts out, or strongly attenuates, frequencies (10–50 GHz) that can be carried by wiring staged at cryogenic temperatures. The filter must have 100-percent transmission at DC and low frequencies where the bias and readout lines will carry signal. The fabrication requires the encapsulation of superconducting wiring in a dielectric-metal envelope with precise electrical characteristics. Sufficiently thick insulation layers with high-conductivity metal layers fully surrounding a patterned superconducting wire in arrayable formats have been demonstrated.

A degenerately doped silicon wafer has been chosen to provide a metallic ground plane. A metallic seed layer is patterned to enable attachment to the ground plane. Thick silicon dioxide films are deposited at low temperatures to provide tunable dielectric isolation without degrading the metallic seed layer. Superconducting wiring is deposited and patterned using microstripline filtering techniques to cut out the relevant frequencies. A low Tc superconductor is used so that it will attenuate power strongly above the gap frequency. Thick dielectric is deposited on top of the circuit, and then vias are patterned through both dielectric layers. A thick conductive film is deposited conformally over the entire circuit, except for the contact pads for the signal and bias attachments to complete the encapsulating ground plane. Filters are high-aspect-ratio rectangles, allowing close packing in one direction, while enabling the chip to feed through the wall of a copper enclosure. The chip is secured in the copper wall using a soft metal seal to make good thermal and electrical contact to the outer shield.

This work was done by James Chervenak, Ari Brown, and Edward Wollack of Goddard Space Flight Center. GSC-16130-1

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

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

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