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Astrophysics Research and Analysis

Photon-noise limited kinetic inductance polarimeter and detector arrays

Completed Technology Project

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Photon-noise limited kinetic inductance polarimeter and detector arrays

The objective of the proposed work is to develop a general microwave kinetic inductance detector (MKID) technology that achieves photon-noise limited performance over a broad range of frequencies (150 GHz - 1.2 THz) with unprecedented low-frequency stability, polarization-sensitive capability, and over the range of loading conditions suitable for sub-orbital and satellite missions. The detector technology uses a new superconducting material, a TiN/Ti/TiN trilayer, together with proven feedhorn optical coupling. The strength of the approach is evidenced in a recent breakthrough result, in which we have demonstrated photon-noise limited sensitivity in MKIDs developed for BLAST, a NASA-funded balloon-borne polarimeter.

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