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Technology Advances for Radio Astronomy


Russell, Damon Stuart (2013) Technology Advances for Radio Astronomy. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/MW3P-2S22.


The field of radio astronomy continues to provide fundamental contributions to the understanding of the evolution, and inner workings of, our universe. It has done so from its humble beginnings, where single antennas and receivers were used for observation, to today's focal plane arrays and interferometers. The number of receiving elements (pixels) in these instruments is quickly growing, currently approaching one hundred. For the instruments of tomorrow, the number of receiving elements will be in the thousands. Such instruments will enable researchers to peer deeper into the fabric of our universe and do so at faster survey speeds. They will provide enormous capability, both for unraveling today's mysteries as well as for the discovery of new phenomena.

Among other challenges, producing the large numbers of low-noise amplifiers required for these instruments will be no easy task. The work described in this thesis advances the state of the art in three critical areas, technological advancements necessary for the future design and manufacturing of thousands of low-noise amplifiers. These areas being: the automated, cryogenic, probing of $\diameter100$ mm indium phosphide wafers; a system for measuring the noise parameters of devices at cryogenic temperatures; and the development of low-noise, silicon germanium amplifiers for terahertz mixer receivers. The four chapters that comprise the body of this work detail the background, design, assembly, and testing involved in these contributions. Also included is a brief survey of noise parameters, the knowledge of which is fundamental to the design of low-noise amplifiers and the optimization of the system noise temperature for large, dense, interferometers.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:radio astronomy ; cryogenics ; low noise amplifiers ; noise parameters ; silicon germanium
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Electrical Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Weinreb, Sander
Thesis Committee:
  • Weinreb, Sander (chair)
  • Emami, Azita
  • Hajimiri, Ali
  • Rutledge, David B.
  • Readhead, Anthony C. S.
  • Gaier, Todd C.
Defense Date:5 October 2012
Non-Caltech Author Email:Damon.S.Russell (AT)
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:11262012-212534634
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7286
Deposited By: Damon Russell
Deposited On:18 Dec 2012 18:16
Last Modified:05 Nov 2021 22:49

Thesis Files

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