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Published July 15, 2010 | Published
Book Section - Chapter Open

Optimization of MKID Noise Performance Via Readout Technique for Astronomical Applications


Detectors employing superconducting microwave kinetic inductance detectors (MKIDs) can be read out by measuring changes in either the resonator frequency or dissipation. We will discuss the pros and cons of both methods, in particular, the readout method strategies being explored for the Multiwavelength Sub/millimeter Inductance Camera (MUSIC) to be commissioned at the CSO in 2010. As predicted theoretically and observed experimentally, the frequency responsivity is larger than the dissipation responsivity, by a factor of 2-4 under typical conditions. In the absence of any other noise contributions, it should be easier to overcome amplifier noise by simply using frequency readout. The resonators, however, exhibit excess frequency noise which has been ascribed to a surface distribution of two-level fluctuators sensitive to specific device geometries and fabrication techniques. Impressive dark noise performance has been achieved using modified resonator geometries employing interdigitated capacitors (IDCs). To date, our noise measurement and modeling efforts have assumed an onresonance readout, with the carrier power set well below the nonlinear regime. Several experimental indicators suggested to us that the optimal readout technique may in fact require a higher readout power, with the carrier tuned somewhat off resonance, and that a careful systematic study of the optimal readout conditions was needed. We will present the results of such a study, and discuss the optimum readout conditions as well as the performance that can be achieved relative to BLIP.

Additional Information

© 2010 SPIE. The MuSIC project is supported by NSF grant AST-0705157 to the University of Colorado, NASA grants NNGC06C71G and NNX10AC83G to Caltech, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the JPL Research and Technology Development Fund. We are grateful to the Xilinx corporation for their generous donation of the FPGAs needed for the readout electronics. J. Sayers was supported by a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellowship and J. Schlaerth and N. Czakon were supported by the NASA Graduate Student Researchers Program Fellowships.

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