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A Wideband, Low-Noise Superconducting Amplifier with High Dynamic Range

Eom, Byeong Ho and Day, Peter K. and LeDuc, Henry G. and Zmuidzinas, Jonas (2012) A Wideband, Low-Noise Superconducting Amplifier with High Dynamic Range. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Submitted)

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Amplifiers are ubiquitous in electronics and play a fundamental role in a wide range of scientific measurements. From a user's perspective, an ideal amplifier has very low noise, operates over a broad frequency range, and has a high dynamic range - it is capable of handling strong signals with little distortion. Unfortunately, it is difficult to obtain all of these characteristics simultaneously. For example, modern transistor amplifiers offer multi-octave bandwidths and excellent dynamic range. However, their noise remains far above the fundamental limit set by the uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics. Parametric amplifiers, which predate transistor amplifiers and are widely used in optics, exploit a nonlinear response to transfer power from a strong pump tone to a weak signal. If the nonlinearity is purely reactive, ie. nondissipative, in theory the amplifier noise can reach the quantum-mechanical limit. Indeed, microwave frequency superconducting Josephson parametric amplifiers do approach the quantum limit, but generally are narrow band and have very limited dynamic range. In this paper, we describe a superconducting parametric amplifier that overcomes these limitations. The amplifier is very simple, consisting only of a patterned metal film on a dielectric substrate, and relies on the nonlinear kinetic inductance of a superconducting transmission line. We measure gain extending over 2 GHz on either side of an 11.56 GHz pump tone, and we place an upper limit on the added noise of the amplifier of 3.4 photons at 9.4 GHz. Furthermore, the dynamic range is very large, comparable to microwave transistor amplifiers, and the concept can be applied throughout the microwave, millimeter-wave and submillimeter-wave bands.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Discussion Paper)
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Additional Information:The research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and has been supported in part by NASA (Science Mission directorate), the Keck Institute for Space Studies and the JPL Research and Technology Development program.
Group:Keck Institute for Space Studies
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Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS)UNSPECIFIED
JPL Research and Technology Development FundUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20120123-082726148
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:28904
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:13 Apr 2012 21:39
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 03:36

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