Superconducting bolometer for far-infrared Fourier transform spectroscopy

Skidmore, J. T.; Gildemeister, J.; Lee, A. T.; Myers, M. J.; Richards, P. L.
January 2003
Applied Physics Letters;1/20/2003, Vol. 82 Issue 3, p469
Academic Journal
A voltage-biased superconducting bolometer with a heat sink temperature of 4.2 K has been developed for Fourier transform spectroscopy in the far infrared. This device is based on a Nb transition edge sensor with T[SUBc] = 8.1 K. It will operate for absorbed infrared power up to 3 × 10[SUP-6] W and has an absorber area of 7 mm[SUP2]. The response is inherently linear and the noise equivalent power (NEP) = 1.2 × 10[SUP-13] W Hz[SUP-1/2] is dominated by thermal fluctuation noise. This NEP is at least a factor 10 better than that expected for a conventional 4.2 K semiconductor bolometer which is optimized for 1% saturation at the same infrared power. The optical response time τ = 1.2 ms is dominated by the internal thermalization time. A smaller version of this bolometer could be useful for diffraction-limited spectroscopy of small samples throughout the infrared. Estimates suggest that values of detectivity D* > 10[SUP11] cm Hz[SUP+1/2] W[SUP-1] and time constants approaching 270 μs could be achieved.


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