R.V. Ozhegov, O.V. Okunev, G.N. Gol’tsman
Interest in research in the terahertz range is driven by a great number of various applications, where terahertz instruments may play a leading role. To name just a few, such applications include study of the cosmic microwave background radiation and the distribution of the dark matter, medicine, navigation, fire alarm, security systems and environmental monitoring.
The paper discusses the possibility of using a receiver based on the hot-electron effect in superconducting films as an imaging system. We present the results of the noise equivalent temperature difference (NETD) measurements performed with a hot-electron bolometer mixer made from a thin superconducting film. The receiver with a noise temperature of ~ 3800 K at a local oscillator frequency of 300 GHz a bandwidth of 500 MHz and an integration time of 1 s has offered an NETD of 0.5 K. We have also developed a technique that enabled us to reduce the contribution of the mixer gain fluctuations to the overall system instability.
As of this writing, the above value of the NETD is the lowest value offered for this type of receiver, which indicates the possibility to use such receivers in real-time imaging systems. The technique offered in the paper for achieving the limiting value of the NETD offers an alternative to the phase-locking scheme.