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Microwave mixing and direct detection using SIS and SIS' quasiparticle tunnel junctions

By: Prober, D.; Lloyd, F.; Harris, R.; Richards, P.; McGrath, W.; Smith, A.; Santhanam, P.;

1983 / IEEE

Description

This item was taken from the IEEE Periodical ' Microwave mixing and direct detection using SIS and SIS' quasiparticle tunnel junctions ' Quasiparticle mixers have shown strong quantum effects, conversion gain, and noise levels approaching the quantum limit, but only in tunnel junctions with very low sub-gap ""leakage"" conductance. It has been suggested that SIS' tunnel junctions, made from two different conductors with unequal gaps, will function as high gain mixers since the dynamic conductance below the gap is negative. We report results of the first SIS' mixing and direct detection experiments. At 36 GHz, a conversion efficiency of -4 dB with a noise temperature of 33 K (SSB) has been obtained. A novel gain mechanism for SIS' direct detectors is predicted. A direct detector responsivity of 250 A/W was measured. We compare our results to quantum theory models. In addition, we demonstrate quasiparticle harmonic mixing of a 36 GHz signal with an 18 GHz local oscillator in tin SIS junctions. Harmonic mixers can have important advantages at high microwave frequencies where insufficient local oscillator power is available.