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Near Quantum Limited Nb-Al-AlO x -Nb Mixers on 9 μm Thick Silicon Substrates around 350 GHz

Measurements and Analysis


We present design, performance measurements and simulations of Nb-Al-AlO x -Nb superconductor-insulator-superconductor (SIS) mixers on silicon membranes mounted into waveguide mixerblocks with beam leads. The mixers are designed for use in astronomy for radio frequencies (RF) between 290 and 390 GHz and a 4-12 GHz intermediate frequency (IF) output band. Different mixer designs are discussed. Each design includes a pair of SIS junctions, connected in series or in parallel. Measurements confirm that silicon membrane substrates with beam lead contact technology support excellent cooling of the devices and show noise temperatures that can be limited to values between once and twice the quantum limit in the RF bandwidth. Measurement results are compared to simulations based on the Quantum Theory of Mixing (QTM). For the parallel junctions we use an adaption of the QTM to calculate the single-junction DC IV-characteristics separately. The resulting simulated DC IV-characteristics are in excellent agreement compared to 3D electromagnetic (EM) simulations and measurements.

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S. Andree-Labsch thanks the Deutsche Telekom Stiftung and the Bonn-Cologne Graduate School of Physics and Astronomy for support by means of stipends. We thank M. P. Westig for helpful discussions. This work is carried out within the Collaborative Research Council 956, sub-project D3, funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).

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Correspondence to Silke Andree-Labsch.

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Andree-Labsch, S., Jacobs, K., Stutzki, J. et al. Near Quantum Limited Nb-Al-AlO x -Nb Mixers on 9 μm Thick Silicon Substrates around 350 GHz. J Infrared Milli Terahz Waves 35, 300–317 (2014).

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  • Superconducting devices
  • THz detectors
  • Mixers
  • Submillimeter wave integrated circuits
  • Radio astronomy