A noise source is an enabling technology for passive millimeter-wave remote sensing applications such as atmospheric sounding, and precipitation and ice cloud measurements. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has developed a packaged noise source that will allow calibration of the front end at the sensing frequency. This capability will eliminate or reduce the requirement of a clear view to cold space, which will reduce the mass and complexity as well as the total cost of the system.

A 160-210 GHz chip-waveguide noise source was designed on quartz implemented into waveguide housing. This noise source circuit consists of commercial millimeter-wave Schottky diodes, a low-pass filter for biasing the diodes with no high-frequency interference, a back-short designed at the center frequency of 183 GHz with vias, and a longitudinal chip/waveguide probe. The back-short is designed with multiple vias to aid with heat sinking the diodes; this feature allows continuous biasing rather than pulsing the circuit. The packaged noise source generates greater than ~10 ENR at 200 GHz.

NASA is actively seeking licensees to commercialize this technology. For more information, contact the Goddard Strategic Partnerships Office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 301-286-5810. Follow this link here for more information.