We are developing superconducting thin-film devices as sensitive photon detectors for frequencies from the visible to the far-infrared. Present research focuses on nanoscale bolometric detectors. An incident photon or photon flux heats the electron system of the superconducting detector element. The strong temperature-dependence of the superconducting phase transition serves as a sensitive thermometer of the electron system. The temperature increase upon photon absorption is maximized by reducing the active device dimensions to the nanoscale. This work is in collaboration with Dr. Boris Karasik (NASA-JPL) and Prof. Charles Schmuttenmaer (Yale Chemistry) and is supported by NSF-CHE.
Left: 2” silicon wafer after microfabrication of more than a hundered antenna-coupled bolometer devices.
Top right: Optical micrograph of niobium bolometer with log spiral antenna for terahertz detection.
Bottom right: Measured frequency response of device with log spiral antenna.