Sheng-Cai SHI *
Purple Mountain Observatory, National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese
Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008, China
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Introduction: It is common knowledge now that the THz region, loosely defined from 0.1THz to 10THz, is rich in scientific and technological opportunities. For example, THz astronomical observations may help answer key questions in the field of astronomy and cosmology. In fact, an entirely new class of galaxy, formed at a very early stage in the universe, has recently been discovered through THz observations . The THz region, however, is to be fully explored as technologies available for this frequency regime are still rather limited. One of significant technical challenges is the development of THz detectors of high sensitivity and large array sizes.
As is well known, detectors can be classified into two categories: incoherent detectors (namely direct detectors, e.g., bolometer) and coherent detectors (e.g., heterodyne mixers). The former is typically of large bandwidth and low or moderate spectral resolution mainly characterizing thermal emissions, while the latter of small bandwidth and high spectral resolution mainly characterizing molecular and atomic spectral lines. On the other hand, superconducting detectors, based essentially on the mechanism of Cooper-pair breaking, have very high sensitivity and can be developed for large arrays (multiple pixels) through lithographic fabrication. They are finding widely used in the fields ranging from astronomy to biology and medicine [2-3].
Acknowledgments: The author is grateful to Dr. Terai of National Institute of Information and Communication Technology for valuable comments. I thank Dr. Matsuo of NAOJ for his help in setting the FTS system. This work was supported by NSFC under Contract No. 10673033 and No.10621303.
Cite this article:
Sheng-Cai SHI. (Invited Talk in SICAST2007) Superconducting THz Detectors and Their Applications in Radio Astronomy[J]. International Journal of Terahertz Science and Technology, 2008, Vol.1, No.4: 190-206. DOI:10.11906/TST.190-206.2008.12.16