Date of Award

Spring 1-10-2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Physics

First Advisor

Jason Glenn

Second Advisor

Nils Halverson

Third Advisor

Kent Irwin

Abstract

This thesis describes my contribution to the design, assembly and testing required for a camera using antenna-coupled Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors (MKIDs). MKIDs are super-conducting resonators in which the resonance frequency and quality factor are sensitive measures of Cooper pairs broken by incident radiation. The MKID camera, called the Multicolor Submillimeter Inductance Camera (MUSIC), is built to detect and characterize the physics of dusty submillimeter galaxies, the primary component of the far-infrared background discovered by the COBE satellite. The camera will have 576 pixels sensitive to 4 colors simultaneously in the range of 150-360 GHz. With these bands, combined with shorter wavelength data from instruments on the Spitzer and Herschel far-infrared satellites, we can find the integrated flux from high-redshift dusty galaxies and identify galaxies likely to be at extremely high redshift. We have achieved first light using a demonstration instrument ("DemoCam"), testing two colors, centered at 240 GHz and 350 GHz, in 2007, and demonstrated three-color operation in 2010.

In the thesis is discussed the design, testing and optimization of DemoCam, in particular its function in testing several iterations of arrays of antenna-coupled MKID resonators. The arrays tested are 4×4 arrays of two-color antenna pixels, and newer 6×6 arrays of three-color antenna pixels, the latter with a "dark" or uncoupled resonator for each antenna. This testing has been used to explore the physics of the detectors, test which properties maximize the detector signal-to-noise ratio, and to inform the MKID camera's optical design. The goal of this testing is find how to improve sensitivity to minimize Noise Equivalent Power in the presence of large background loads, as in ground-based sub/millimeter astronomy. The DemoCam is shown to reach interesting levels of sensitivity on the sky in three colors (230, 290 and 350 GHz), and to have effective calibration mechanisms, with the readout system used for the final camera.

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