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Published May 10, 2002 | Published
Book Section - Chapter Open

A low noise, high thermal stability, 0.1 K test facility for the Planck HFI bolometers


We are developing a facility which will be used to characterize the bolometric detectors for Planck, an ESA mission to investigate the Cosmic Microwave Background. The bolometers operate at 0.1 K, employing neutron-transmutation doped (NTD) Ge thermistors with resistances of several megohms to achieve NEPs~1×10^(–17) W Hz^(–1/2). Characterization of the intrinsic noise of the bolometers at frequencies as low as 0.010 Hz dictates a test apparatus thermal stability of 40 nK Hz^(–1/2) to that frequency. This temperature stability is achieved via a multi-stage isolation and control geometry with high resolution thermometry implemented with NTD Ge thermistors, JFET source followers, and dedicated lock-in amplifiers. The test facility accommodates 24 channels of differential signal readout, for measurement of bolometer V(I) characteristics and intrinsic noise. The test facility also provides for modulated radiation in the submillimeter band incident on the bolometers, for measurement of the optical speed-of-response; this illumination can be reduced below detectable limits without interrupting cryogenic operation. A commercial Oxford Instruments dilution refrigerator provides the cryogenic environment for the test facility.

Additional Information

© 2002 American Institute of Physics. Issue Date: 10 May 2002. The research described in this paper was performed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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