A 1.5 THz hot electron bolometer receiver for ground-based Terahertz astronomy in Northern Chile

C. Y.Edward Tong, Jonathan Kawamura, Daniel Marrone, Denis Loudkov, Scott Paine, Raymond Blundell, Claudio Barrientos, Daniel Lühr

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Scopus citations


A 1.5 THz superconducting receiver has been in operation at the Receiver Lab Telescope of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Northern Chile since December 2004. This receiver incorporates a Hot Electron Bolometer (HEB) mixer chip made from a thin film of Niobium Titanium Nitride (NbTiN), which is mounted in a precision-machined waveguide mixer block attached to a corrugated waveguide horn assembly. With a noise temperature of around 1500 K, this receiver is sensitive enough for use in the pioneering field of ground-based terahertz spectral-line astronomy. A number of innovative techniques have been employed in the construction and deployment of this receiver. These include near-field vector beam mapping to enable accurate coupling to the telescope optics, the use of tunerless planar-diode based local oscillator unit capable of generating a few μW at 1.5 THz, and special calibration techniques required for terahertz astronomy. In this paper, we will report on the design, set-up and operation of this state-of-the-art instrument.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTerahertz Physics, Devices, and Systems
StatePublished - 2006
EventTerahertz Physics, Devices, and Systems - Boston, MA, United States
Duration: Oct 2 2006Oct 4 2006

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherTerahertz Physics, Devices, and Systems
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBoston, MA


  • Hot Electron Bolometer mixer
  • Terahertz astronomy
  • Terahertz receiver

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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