Development of Kinetic Inductance Superconducting Detectors

Future observatories that operate in the millimeter, submillimeter and far-infrared range require large format cameras and broadband spectrometers, high resolution and exceptional sensitivity. The limit sensitivity is determined by the detectors and, for this reason, the development of new technologies is of great importance to reach the specifications required by the new astronomical instrumentation.

Kinetic Inductance Detectors (KIDs), despite their recent development, have already shown great potential in their use in large format cameras on large ground-based telescopes, like the instruments & nbsp; NIKA2 and AM-KID. In addition, they have been proposed to ESA as the baseline of the detectors for future missions such as CORE, which will study the polarization of the cosmic microwave background with unparalleled precision. However, the KIDs, a technology in full development, present great challenges in its development in order to meet the final specifications of the future astronomical instrumentation proposed for both land and space.

KIDs are LC superconducting resonators (inductor-capacitor) coupled to a transmission line. The incident radiation is absorbed by the superconductor, breaking Cooper pairs, modifying the kinetic inductance and resistance of the resonator. This change will affect the properties of the resonator as the resonance frequency and, therefore, the mechanism for the detection of radiation is based on the monitoring of these properties. The main advantage of KIDs is their intrinsic multiplexing capacity in frequencies, allowing to connect more than one thousand pixels to a single line.

The Center for Astrobiology (CSIC-INTA) leads the Spanish development of this technology, carrying out all phases, from its manufacture to the cryogenic characterization. The nanofabrication is carried out in collaboration with the IMDEA-Nanoscience, using techniques such as Sputtering, laser lithography or electronic lithography. For the characterization we use the dilution cryostat installed in the CAB with a base temperature of only 10 mK over absolute zero. This cryostat allows us to characterize the basic parameters of the manufactured detectors such as the detection band and sensitivity.

< div style = "text-align: justify;"> The CAB has participated in numerous national and international projects for the development of this type of instrumentation. In particular, we should highlight the FP7 SPACEKIDS European project focused on the development of the state of the art in KIDs type detectors with the aim of pushing this technology to the requirements demanded in future astronomical space missions, such as SPICA. In this project, we collaborate with the leading groups at European level in the development of KIDs, such as SRON or the University of Cardiff. Currently we work in close collaboration with the group of A. Monfrdini of the Institut Néel-CNRS in the development of large-format arrays based on aluminum and aluminum / titanium for their development in instruments such as NIKA2 and KISS.


< i> Figure: diagram of the operation of a KID. The image shows a pixel consisting of a superconducting LC resonant circuit with a characteristic resonance frequency f0. When a photon of energy greater than that of the superconducting gap influences, & nbsp; the density of Cooper pairs decreases, increasing the kinetic inductance (Lk) and decreasing the resonance frequency.

 

Fuente: Alicia Gómez (CAB)

 

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