Millimetre and THz detector development

Our main research is aimed at the development of ultra-sensitive cryogenic detectors for submillimetre telescopes. The operation of these coherent detectors is based on photon-assisted tunnelling in SIS
(Superconductor-Insulator-Superconductor) tunnel junctions. Our major project at present is to develop a 1.3 THz SIS mixer for the ALMA telescope which is the largest submillimetre telescope ever built, consisting of 66 12 m antennas installed at an altitude of 5000 m in the north of Chile . Our work requires thorough understanding of of the physics of heterodyne quantum detection above the superconducting gap and electromagnetic propagation in planar superconducting structures. We use commercial and home-made software to design the detector chips and a detector laboratory equipped with state of the art cryogenic systems for testing and characterization of their performance. We also develop quasi-optical components such as feeds and OMTs and superconducting devices such as nano-switches which are employed in THz receivers.

Projects:

Ultra-Low-Noise detectors for submillimetre astronomy (Funded by
the STFC Consortium grant)
Supra-THz SIS and HEB detectors (Funded by the EU RadioNet project).
Interferometry Beyond 1 THz (Funded by STFC/ESO grant)
High performance multiple flare-angled feed
Phase modulation employing superconducting nano-switches