This paper describes the Heterodyne Instrument for the Far-Infrared (HIFI), to be launched onboard of ESA's Herschel Space Observatory, by 2008. It includes the first results from the instrument level tests. The instrument is designed to be electronically tuneable over a wide and continuous frequency range in the Far Infrared, with velocity resolutions better than 0.1 km/s with a high sensitivity. This will enable detailed investigations of a wide variety of astronomical sources, ranging from solar system objects, star formation regions to nuclei of galaxies.
The instrument comprises 5 frequency bands covering 480-1150 GHz with SIS mixers and a sixth dual frequency band, for the 1410-1910 GHz range, with Hot Electron Bolometer Mixers (HEB). The Local Oscillator (LO) subsystem consists of a dedicated Ka-band synthesizer followed by 7 times 2 chains of frequency multipliers, 2 chains for each frequency band. A pair of Auto-Correlators and a pair of Acousto-Optic spectrometers process the two IF signals from the dual-polarization front-ends to provide instantaneous frequency coverage of 4 GHz, with a set of resolutions (140 kHz to 1 MHz), better than < 0.1 km/s. After a successful qualification program, the flight instrument was delivered and entered the testing phase at satellite level. We will also report on the pre-flight test and calibration results together with the expected in-flight performance.
In this paper recent developments of Hot Electron Bolometric receivers performed at Chalmers are summarized. This comprises progress on the mixers for HIFI and membrane HEB. All devices are modelled using Hot Spot model taking Andreev reflection at the interface between the normal conductor and the superconductor into
We present in this paper the front-end design and the results of RF simulations, carried out with Microwave Studio (CST) and HFSS for SHAHIRA (Submillimeter Heterodyne Array for High-speed Radio Astronomy), a 4x4 heterodyne array at 2.5 THz and 4.7 THz. One can then observe 16 spatial positions at 2 frequencies. The design has been chosen to be quasi-optic, because of its simplicity, novelty and multi-pixels applicability. Pixels are made of Niobium Nitride HEB mixers with double-slot antennas, processed on 1 μm thick stress-less Si3N4/SiO2 membrane. The use of the membrane shows numerous advantages: for instance the use of the mixers at higher RF frequencies, a better power coupling efficiency or a solution for avoiding dielectric modes, losses and reflections. This work is supported by ESA and is a collaboration between LERMA, CHALMERS and LAAS. The Camera is expected to find applications, for SOFIA or CIDRE.
Stability of a hot-electron bolometer (HEB) heterodyne receiver was investigated at frequencies from 0.6THz to 1.9THz. The Allan variance was measured as a function of the integration time and the Allan time was obtained for HEB mixers of different size, as well as with different types of the local oscillator: FIR laser, multiplier chain, and BWO. We have found that due to stronger dependence of the mixer gain and noise vs mixer bias voltage and current the Allan time is shorter for smaller mixers. At 1.6THz the Allan time is 3 sec for 4x0.4μm2 bolometer, and 0.15-0.2 sec for 1x0.15μm2 bolometer. Obtained stability apears to be the same for the FIR laser and the mulitplier chain. The Allan time for smaller bolometers increases to 0.4-0.5sec at 0.6-0.7THz LO frequencies. The influence of the IF chain on the obtained results is also analyzed.
We report in this paper a new concept for 2.7 THz superconducting Niobium nitride (NbN) Hot-Electron Bolometer mixer (HEB). The membrane process was developped for space telecommnunication applications a few years ago and the HEB mixer concept is now considered as the best choice for low-noise submillimeter-wave frequency heterodyne receivers. The idea is then to join these two technologies. The novel fabrication scheme is to fabricate a NbN HEB mixer on a 1 μm thick stress-less Si3N4/SiO2 membrane. This seems to present numerous improvements concerning : use at higher RF frequencies, power coupling efficiency, HEB mixer sensitivity, noise temperature, and space applications. This work is to be continued within the framework of an ESA TRP project, a 2.7 THz heterodyne camera with numerous applications including a SOFIA airborne receiver. This paper presents the whole fabrication process, the validation tests and preliminary results. Membrane-based HEB mixer theory is currently being investigated and further tests such as heterodyne and Fourier transform spectrometry measurement are planed shortly.
NbN hot- electron bolometer mixers have reached the level of 10hv/k in terms of the input noise temperature with the noise bandwidth of 4-6 GHz from subMM band up to 2.5 THz. In this paper we discuss the major characteristics of this kind of receiver, i.e. the gain and the noise bandwidth, the noise temperature in a wide RF band, bias regimes and optimisation of RF coupling to the quasioptical mixer. We present the status of the development of the mixer for Band 6 Low for Herschel Telescope.
Bolometric receivers serve as direct detectors, photon counters and as heterodyne receivers in astronomical instruments. Heterodyne hot-electron bolometric mixers show record sensitivity for observation frequencies above a Terahertz. In this paper NbN phonon-cooled mixers, conversion gain, noise and stability are discussed based on device models including Andreev reflection and critical current effects. The geometry (4 μm wide, 0.4 μm long on a 35 Å thick film), critical current (as high as possible) and critical temperature (about 8.5K) of an optimum phonon-cooled bolometric receiver operated at 2 to 4 K is discussed. Smaller devices than the optimum show worse noise performance. Larger devices require too high local oscillator power.
KASIMIR initiative is a development program started in early 1996 by the ESA in order to advance the mm-and sub-mm-wave sensor technology for satellite-based atmospheric observations. The initial goal of the project is to build integrated antenna/mixer frontends at 650 GHz which are qualifiable for the low Earth orbit environment. All of the frontends will make use of the so-called integrated quasi- vertical Schottky diodes developed at Technical University of Darmstadt in Germany.
In this paper is given an overview of hot-electron superconducting mixers for submillimeter wave applications with emphasis on results obtained in Europe. The two competing types of mixers, the phonon cooled and the diffusion cooled, are described. A calculation scheme for the mixer conversion properties is presented based on data extracted from pumped and unpumped IV-characteristics. The generation of image frequency terms is discussed. Finally some state of the art results are presented.