Low noise 874 GHz receivers for the international submillimetre airborne radiometer (ISMAR)
Journal article, 2018
We report on the development of two 874 GHz receiver channels with orthogonal polarizations for the international submillimetre airborne radiometer. A spline horn antenna and dielectric lens, a Schottky diode mixer circuit, and an intermediate frequency (IF) low noise amplifier circuit were integrated in the same metallic split block housing. This resulted in a receiver mean double sideband (DSB) noise temperature of 3300 K (minimum 2770 K, maximum 3400 K), achieved at an operation temperature of 40 C and across a 10 GHz wide IF band. A minimum DSB noise temperature of 2260 K at 20 C was measured without the lens. Three different dielectric lens materials were tested and compared with respect to the radiation pattern and noise temperature. All three lenses were compliant in terms of radiation pattern, but one of the materials leads to a reduction in a noise temperature of approximately 200 K compared to the others. The loss in this lens was estimated to be 0.42 dB. The local oscillator chains have a power consumption of 24W and consist of custom-designed Schottky diode quadruplers (5% power efficiency in operation, 8%-9% peak), commercial heterostructure barrier varactor (HBV) triplers, and power amplifiers that are pumped by using a common dielectric resonator oscillator at 36.43 GHz. Measurements of the radiation pattern showed a symmetric main beam lobe with full width half maximum <5 and side lobe levels below 20 dB. The return loss of a prototype of the spline horn and lens was measured using a network analyzer and frequency extenders to be 750-1100 GHz. Time-domain analysis of the reflection coefficients shows that the reflections are below 25 dB and are dominated by the external waveguide interface.