The Origins Space Telescope (OST) is a NASA study for a large satellite mission to be submitted to the 2020 Decadal Review. The proposed satellite has a fleet of instruments including the HEterodyne Receivers for OST (HERO). HERO is designed around the quest to follow the trail of water from the ISM to disks around protostars and planets. HERO will perform high-spectral resolution measurements with 2x9 pixel focal plane arrays at any frequency between 468GHz to 2,700GHz (617 to 111 μm). HERO builds on the successful Herschel/HIFI heritage, as well as recent technological innovations, allowing it to surpass any prior heterodyne instrument in terms of sensitivity and spectral coverage.
The Far Infrared Spectroscopic Explorer (FIRSPEX) is a novel European-led astronomy mission concept developed to enable large area ultra high spectroscopic resolution surveys in the THz regime. FIRSPEX opens up a relatively unexplored spectral and spatial parameter space that will produce an enormously significant scientific legacy by focusing on the properties of the multi-phase ISM, the assembly of molecular clouds in our Galaxy and the onset of star formation; topics which are fundamental to our understanding of galaxy evolution. The mission uses a heterodyne instrument and a ~1.2 m primary antenna to scan large areas of the sky in a number of discreet spectroscopic channels from L2. The FIRSPEX bands centered at [CI] 809 GHz, [NII]1460 GHz, [CII]1900 GHz and [OI]4700 GHz have been carefully selected to target key atomic and ionic fine structure transitions difficult or impossible to access from the ground but fundamental to the study of the multi-phase ISM in the Universe. The need for state-of-the-art sensitivity dictates the use of superconducting mixers configured either as tunnel junctions or hot electron bolometers. This technology requires cooling to low temperatures, approaching 4K, in order to operate. The receivers will operate in double sideband configuration providing a total of 7 pixels on the sky. FIRSPEX will operate from L2 in both survey and pointed mode enabling velocity resolved spectroscopy of large areas of sky as well as targeted observations.
Applications like radio astronomy and space communications require ultimate sensitivity and make use of very particular receivers with state-of-the-art devices. Usually the receivers are cooled at cryogenic temperatures to reduce the noise even further. Noise temperatures of only a few times the quantum limit can be obtained in these conditions. During the past decade, Indium Phosphide HEMTs have demonstrated the best noise performance at cryogenic temperatures in the microwave frequency range of all active semiconductor devices, together with extremely low power consumption. For certain applications noise is not the only factor affecting the sensitivity. For example, gain fluctuations may play a dominant role in wide band radiometers. Unfortunately some of the factors that have contributed to improve the noise temperature have degraded the gain fluctuations. The operation at cryogenic temperatures also increases the fluctuations. This paper describes the experimental results obtained at the Centro Astronomico de Yebes (CAY) in the development of wide band cryogenic amplifiers. Special attention is paid to the influence of the bias point in noise and gain fluctuations. InP HEMTs from different foundries were tested. The amplifiers developed will be used in the Herschel ESA mission radiometers and the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) receivers.
The sub-millimeter radiometers of the Herschel mission have very stringent requirements. The scientific goals require an instantaneous bandwidth of four GHz with very low noise, flat gain and low power dissipation. Short-term gain stability of the amplifier is important, because gain fluctuations could limit the sensitivity of the instrument. Besides, a highly reliable, low weight unit is required to be compatible with the space instrumentation standards. The amplifiers will be used in conjunction with HEB and SIS mixers in all 7 channels of the instrument. This paper describes the design, the special construction techniques and the results of the amplifiers built by Centro Astronómico de Yebes for the development model of the Herschel Heterodyne Instrument. The average noise temperature obtained in the 4-8 GHz band is 3.5 K, with a gain of 27 ±1.1 dB at an ambient temperature of 15 K and keeping the total power dissipation below the allowed 4 mW. Normalized gain fluctuations were carefully measured, being lower than 1.5·10-4 Hz-1/2 @ 1 Hz. Space qualification of the design is in progress.
The Heterodyne Instrument for FIRST (HIFI) is a heterodyne receiver system which has an intermediate frequency (IF) amplifier that will likely exhibit 1/f-type gain fluctuations. Although the level of fluctuation is very small, wideband spectral observations require exceptional stability. A methodology for measuring 1/f fluctuations is described along with measurements of two amplifiers. Comparisons are made with previous 1/f measurements of HEMT amplifiers. The implications for HIFI are described.
The objective of the European project EMCOR was the development of a heterodyne receiver for the frequency range of 201 to 210 GHz for the measurement of the amounts of various minor constituents of the stratosphere involved in ozone chemistry. In order to be able to measure even very faint spectral lines a superconducting tunnel junction has been chosen as mixer element. Additionally, special care has been taken in developing the calibration unit of the system. Besides the classical hot-cold calibration three different balancing methods can be employed: a beam-switch technique with an atmospheric reference signal, a beam switch technique with a reference signal from a variable reference load or a frequency switch technique. The system has been integrated and is currently under testing. It will be installed at the International Scientific Station Jungfraujoch in he Swiss Alps and operated within the framework of the European Alpine stations of the Network for the Detection of Stratospheric Change.
We describe the preliminary design of the proposed Heterodyne Instrument for FIRST (HIFI). The instrument will have a continuous frequency coverage over the range from 480 to 1250 GHz in five bands, while a sixth band will provide coverage for 1410 - 1910 GHz and 2400 - 2700 GHz. The first five bands will use SIS mixers and varactor frequency multipliers while in the sixth band a laser photomixer local oscillator will pump HEB mixers. HIFI will have an instantaneous bandwidth of 4 GHz, analyzed in parallel by two types of spectrometers: a pair of wide-band spectrometers (WBS), and a pair of high- resolution spectrometer (HRS). The wide-band spectrometer will use acousto-optic technology with a frequency resolution of 1 MHz and a bandwidth of 4 GHz for each of the two polarizations. The HRS will provide two combinations of bandwidth and resolution: 1 GHz bandwidth at 200 kHz resolution, and at least 500 MHz at 100 kHz resolution. The HRS will be divided into 4 or 5 sub-bands, each of which can be placed anywhere within the full 4 GHz IF band. The instrument will be able to perform rapid and complete spectral line surveys with resolving powers from 103 up to 107 (300 - 0.03 km/s) and deep line observations.