HEB heterodyne focal plane arrays: a terahertz technology for high sensitivity near-range security imaging systems*
Eyal Gerecht, Dazhen Gu, Sigfrid Yngvesson, Fernando Rodriquez-Morales, Ric Zannoni, John Nicholson
We have achieved the first demonstation of alow-noise heterodyne array for a frequency above 1 THz (1.6THz). 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 LO power to the detectr. We also demonstrate for the first time how the HEB detectors can be intimatley integrated in the same block with MMICIF 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 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 microwatts per pixel). The operating temperature is 4 to 6K, 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 design to obtain a two-dimensional image of the target. We will present preliminary measured data at the symposium for a terahertz security system of this type.