We report on research in the field of low-noise receiving systems in the sub-terahertz (THz) range, carried out in recent years, aimed at developing receivers with quantum sensitivity for imple-mentation in space and ground-based radio telescopes. Superconductor-Insulator-Superconductor (SIS) mixers based on high-quality tunnel junctions are the key elements of the most sensitive sub-THz heterodyne receivers. Motivations and physical background for technology improvement and optimization, as well as fabrication details, are described. This article presents the results of the SIS receiver developments for the 211–275 GHz and 790–950 GHz frequency ranges with a noise temperature in the double sideband (DSB) mode of approximTELY 20 K and 200 K, respectively. These designs and achievements are implemented in the development of the receiving systems for the Russian Space Agency mission “Millimetron”, and for the ground-based APEX (Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment) telescope.
- Low-noise SIS receivers
- Niobium-based high-quality tunnel junctions
- Radio astronomy
- THz range quantum-limited mixers