Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Millimeter-Wave Polarimeters Using Kinetic Inductance Detectors for TolTEC and Beyond



Jason Austermann, James A. Beall, Sean A. Bryan, Bradley Dober, Jiansong Gao, Gene C. Hilton, Johannes Hubmayr, Phillip Mauskopf, Christopher M. McKenney, S M. Simon, Joel Ullom, Michael Vissers, G W. Wilson


Microwave kinetic inductance detectors (MKIDs) provide a compelling path forward to the large-format polarimeter, imaging, and spectrometer arrays needed for next-generation experiments in millimeter-wave cosmology and astronomy. We describe the development of feedhorn-coupled MKID detectors for the TolTEC millimeter-wave imaging polarimeter being constructed for the 50-m Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT). Observations with TolTEC are planned to begin in early 2019. TolTEC will comprise ̃ 7000 polarization-sensitive MKIDs and will represent the first MKID arrays fabricated and deployed on monolithic 150 mm diameter silicon wafers-a critical step toward future large-scale experiments with over 105 detectors. TolTEC will operate in observational bands at 1.1, 1.4, and 2.0 mm and will use dichroic filters to define a physically independent focal plane for each passband, thus allowing the polarimeters to use simple, direct-absorption inductive structures that are impedance matched to incident radiation. This work is part of a larger program at NIST-Boulder to develop MKID-based detector technologies for use over a wide range of photon energies spanning millimeter-waves to X-rays. We present the detailed pixel layout and describe the methods, tools, and flexible design parameters that allow this solution to be optimized for use anywhere in the millimeter and sub-millimeter bands. We also present measurements of prototype devices operating in the 1.1 mm band and compare the observed optical performance to that predicted from models and simulations.
Journal of Low Temperature Physics


MKID, microwave kinetic inductance detectors, TiN, CMB, TolTec, polarization, photon, energies, millimeter-waves, sub-millimeter, radiation, polarimetry, LMT


Austermann, J. , Beall, J. , Bryan, S. , Dober, B. , Gao, J. , Hilton, G. , Hubmayr, J. , Mauskopf, P. , McKenney, C. , Simon, S. , Ullom, J. , Vissers, M. and Wilson, G. (2018), Millimeter-Wave Polarimeters Using Kinetic Inductance Detectors for TolTEC and Beyond, Journal of Low Temperature Physics, [online],, (Accessed May 23, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created March 7, 2018, Updated January 4, 2022