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Article

Heterodyne detection at near-infrared wavelengths with a superconducting NbN hot-electron bolometer mixer.

Optics Letters. 2014. Vol. 39. No. 6. P. 1429-1432.
Lobanov Y., Shcherbatenko M., Shurakov A., Rodin A., Klimchuk A., Nadezhdinsky A., Maslennikov S., Larionov P., Finkel M., Semenov A., Verevkin A., Voronov B., Ponurovsky Y., Klapwijk T., Goltsman G.

We report on the development of a highly sensitive optical receiver for heterodyne IR spectroscopy at the communication wavelength of 1.5 μm (200 THz) by use of a superconducting hot-electron bolometer. The results are important for the resolution of narrow spectral molecular lines in the near-IR range for the study of astronomical objects, as well as for quantum optical tomography and fiber-optic sensing. Receiver configuration as well as fiber-to-detector light coupling designs are discussed. Light absorption of the superconducting detectors was enhanced by nano-optical antennas, which were coupled to optical fibers. An intermediate frequency (IF) bandwidth of about 3 GHz was found in agreement with measurements at 300 GHz, and a noise figure of about 25 dB was obtained that was only 10 dB above the quantum limit.