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Paper: SIS Receivers: from IRAM to the SMA
Volume: 417, Submillimeter Astrophysics and Technology: A Symposium Honoring Thomas G. Phillips
Page: 411
Authors: Blundell, R.
Abstract: In 1979, the Institut de Radio-Astronomie Millimetrique was established with plans to build a 30-meter diameter single-dish telescope and an interferometric array, both designed to operate at millimeter wavelengths. Since radio-astronomy generally involves the detection of weak signals, high sensitivity is a requirement for most radio-astronomy receivers. Following publication of the first low-noise heterodyne mixing results using the superconductor-insulator-superconductor mixer, it was quickly recognized that SIS mixers would need to be developed at IRAM for these telescopes to become and remain competetive. In this paper, we follow SIS receiver developments at IRAM from 1981 to 1989, at which time the 30 m telescope was equipped with 3, 2, and 1.3 mm SIS receivers and the Plateau de Bure Interferometer was operating at 3 mm. Initial plans to develop an interferometer for submillimeter wavelengths were first presented by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in 1984, and recognizing the need to develop sensitive receiver technology for the submillimeter, funds to establish a receiver laboratory were made available in 1988. We will follow receiver developments for the SMA from early experiments incorporating lead-alloy SIS mixers to more recent high frequency developments using Nb mixer technology.
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