High sensitivity 810 GHz SIS receivers at AST/RO

Patrick Pütz, S. Glenz, R. Teipen, T. Tils, N. Honingh, K. Jacobs, Abigali Hedden, C. Kulesa, C. E. Groppi, C. K. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In November 2003 the heterodyne receivers WANDA (polarization diplexed 492/810 GHz) and PoleSTAR (2 × 2 810 GHz array) of AST/RO (Antarctic Submillimeter Telescope and Remote Observatory, located at the South Pole) were upgraded with new 810 GHz SIS (Superconductor-Insulator-Superconductor) waveguide mixers from KOSMA. Profiting from device development for the HIFI (Heterodyne Instrument for the Far-Infrared) Band 2 SIS mixers of the Herschel Space Observatory, a factor of ≈ 2 improvement in receiver noise temperature (from 1100 K to 550 K DSB) was achieved with WANDA. The SIS mixer devices employ low-loss NbTiN-Al tuning circuits and are fabricated using electron beam lithographic junction area definition and CMP (Chemical Mechanical Polishing) of the tuning circuit dielectric. With the South Pole being one of the best possible sites for ground-based submillimeter astronomy, the 1.7m telescope currently makes AST/RO well suited for sensitive, large scale spectral line mapping at 810 GHz. Low atmospheric opacity (τ < 1) and, consequently, very low system noise temperatures (< 3000 K) are regularly achieved at 810 GHz, making AST/RO an extremely sensitive observatory at these frequencies. "First light" astronomical measurements made with the upgraded 810 GHz channel of WANDA towards the galactic HII region NGC 3576 in CO J = 7 → 6 (806.65 GHz) and the neutral carbon [CI] 3P23 P1 (809.3 GHz) lines are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number63
Pages (from-to)509-516
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2004
EventMillimeter and Submillimeter Detectors for Astronomy II - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: Jun 23 2004Jun 25 2004


  • Far-infrared
  • Heterodyne
  • ISM
  • Mixer
  • Receiver
  • SIS
  • Spectral lines
  • Spectroscopy
  • Submillimeter

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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