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Superconducting Transition Edge Sensor Bolometer Arrays for Submillimeter Astronomy



D. J. Benford, C. A. Allen, A. S. Kutyrev, S. H. Mosely, Rick A. Shafer, James A. Chervenak, Erich N. Grossman, Kent D. Irwin, John M. Martinis, Carl D. Reintsema


Studies of astrophysical emission in the far-infrared and submillimeter will increasingly require large arrays of detectors containing hundreds to thousands of elements. The last few years have seen the increasing from one to a few tens of bolometers on ground-based telescopes. A further jump of this magnitude, to a thousand bolometers, requires a fundamental redesign of the technology of making bolometer arrays. One method of achieving this increase is to design bolometers which can be packed into a rectangular array of near-unity filling factor while Nyquist-sampling the focal plane of the telescope at the operating wavelengths. In this case, the array becomes more nearly analogous to the arrays used in the near-infrared which underwent a substantial growth during the last decade. A multiplexed readout is necessary for this many detectors, and can be developed using SQUIDs such that a 32 x 32 array of bolometers could be read out using 100 wires rather than the > 2000 needed with a brute force expansion of existing arrays. Superconducting transition edge sensors are used as the detectors for these bolometer arrays. We describe a collaborative effort currently underway at NASA/Goddard and NIST to bring about the first astronomically useful arrays of this design, containing tens of bolometers. This technology is well-suited to low-background instruments such as SPIRE on FIRST and SAFIRE on SOFIA, and can also be used in broadband, high-background instruments such as HAWC on SOFIA.
Proceedings Title
Proc., 11th Intl Symp. on Space Terahertz Tech.
Conference Dates
May 1-3, 2000
Conference Location
Ann Arbor, MI, USA


array, bolometer, SQUID, submillimeter


Benford, D. , Allen, C. , Kutyrev, A. , Mosely, S. , Shafer, R. , Chervenak, J. , Grossman, E. , Irwin, K. , Martinis, J. and Reintsema, C. (2000), Superconducting Transition Edge Sensor Bolometer Arrays for Submillimeter Astronomy, Proc., 11th Intl Symp. on Space Terahertz Tech., Ann Arbor, MI, USA (Accessed June 5, 2023)
Created May 2, 2000, Updated October 12, 2021