Cryogenic Sensor Test Facility


FLC Region

Security Lab



4555 Overlook Avenue S.W.




FUNCTION: Used for designing and testing hyperspectral (IR to X-rays) single-photon cryogenic detectors. These detectors can measure the "color" (energy) of individual photons without using dispersive elements such as diffraction gratings. The accuracy can be as high as 1 part in 10,000 for a 10 keV photon. The facility provides a cryogenic environment for the detectors, ultra-low-noise electronics, and a fast acquisition system.

DESCRIPTION: The Cryogenic Sensor Test Facility is an electromagnetically screened room with a sub-Kelvin temperature cryostat, photon sources (X-ray, UV, optical, and infrared photons), very low noise cryogenic and room temperature electronics, and a signal processing system. It was built to support the development of nondispersive single-photon detectors. These are currently hyperspectral single-photon energy resolving (QVD) detectors, which can cover a wide range of wavelengths from X rays to IR. In the QVD design, the energy deposited by a photon into the detector is thermoelectrically converted into the voltage with subsequent digital readout at the cold stage for a multipixel array configuration. Since the QVD is still at the developmental stage, the facility is very flexible and has tools and equipment that can be easily reconfigured and upgraded.

INSTRUMENTATION: The He-3 cryostat provides access to temperatures as low as 0.3 K. An X-ray source (Fe-55) can be placed inside the cryostat and covered or uncovered by external control. The cryostat has windows adjustable to external IR/visible/UV photons. A custom Nd-YAG laser (infrared radiation:λ = 1.06 μm) with frequencydoubling (green: λ = 532 nm) and tripling(UV:λ = 353 nm) produces trains of subnanosecondpulses. Cryogenic electronics include Superconducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUID)-array amplifiers, with current noise of 2 pA/Hz 1/2 , bandwidth up to1 GHz, input impedance of 4 to 250 nH, and trans-impedance gain of 100 to 1000 Ω.


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