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High-sensitivity superconducting detectors for mm/submm/THz astronomy

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Teri Bartlett.

Abstract: About half of the photon energy in our universe is from mm and submm as well as THz wavelengths. At these wavelengths, we can observe early distant objects including the cosmic microwave background, most cold objects, and obscured objects invisible in the optical. In addition, there are abundant molecular spectral lines and fine atomic structure spectral lines—important tracers for probing the physical and chemical properties and dynamic processes of objects such as stars and planetary systems. Compared with other frequency regimes, however, the mm/submm/THz regime is still to be fully explored. One reason is the strong absorption by the earth’s atmosphere and the other due to the lack of sensitive detectors. The advancement of low-temperature superconducting detectors makes the detection sensitivity of mm/submm/THz radiation approaching the quantum limit in coherent mode and background limit in incoherent mode. They are playing an increasingly important role in cosmology and astrophysics. This talk will firstly introduce the device physics of low-temperature superconducting detectors mainly used in astronomy including superconductor-insulator-superconductor (SIS) mixers (i.e., coherent detectors), hot-electron-bolometer (HEB) mixers, transition-edge-sensor (TES) detectors, and microwave kinetic inductance detectors (MKID). Some latest development results will then be presented. Finally, I will introduce Dome A 5m Terahertz Telescope (DATE5) project, which is to be build at Dome A in Antarctic—the best site on earth for astronomical observations in the THz regime.

This talk is part of the Semiconductor Physics Group Seminars series.

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