18 May 2005 HEB heterodyne focal plane arrays: a terahertz technology for high sensitivity near-range security imaging systems
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Abstract
We have achieved the first demonstration of a low-noise heterodyne array operating at a frequency above 1 THz (1.6 THz). The prototype array has three elements, consisting of NbN hot electron bolometer (HEB) detectors on silicon substrates. We use a quasi-optical design to couple the signal and local oscillator (LO) power to the detector. We also demonstrate, for the first time, how the HEB detectors can be intimately integrated in the same block with monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) IF amplifiers. Such focal plane arrays can be increased in size to a few hundred elements using the next generation fabrication architecture for compact and easy assembly. Future HEB-based focal plane arrays will make low-noise heterodyne imaging systems with high angular resolution possible from 500 GHz to several terahertz. Large low-noise HEB arrays are well suited for real-time video imaging at any frequency over the entire terahertz spectrum. This is made possible by virtue of the extremely low local oscillator power requirements of the HEB detectors (a few hundred nanowatts to a microwatt per pixel). The operating temperature is 4 to 6 K, which can be provided by a compact and mobile cryocooler system, developed as a spin-off from the space program. The terahertz HEB imager consists of a computer-controlled optical system mounted on an elevation and azimuth scanning translator which provides a two-dimensional image of the target. We present preliminary measured data at the symposium for a terahertz security system of this type.
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Eyal Gerecht, Eyal Gerecht, Dazhen Gu, Dazhen Gu, Sigfrid Yngvesson, Sigfrid Yngvesson, Fernando Rodriguez-Morales, Fernando Rodriguez-Morales, R. Zannoni, R. Zannoni, John Nicholson, John Nicholson, } "HEB heterodyne focal plane arrays: a terahertz technology for high sensitivity near-range security imaging systems", Proc. SPIE 5790, Terahertz for Military and Security Applications III, (18 May 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.603969; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.603969
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