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Tantalum STJ for Photon Counting Detectors

Corentin Jorel 1 Philippe Feautrier 2 Jean-Claude Villegier 3
1 électronique
LAOG - Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Grenoble, SPSMS - UMR 9001 - Service de Physique Statistique, Magnétisme et Supraconductivité
Abstract : Abstract-- Superconducting Tunnel Junctions (STJ's) are currently being developed as photon detectors for a wide range of applications. Interest comes from their ability to cumulate photon counting with chromaticity (i.e. energy resolution) from the near infrared (2 µm) to the X-rays wavelengths and good quantum efficiency up to 80%. Resolving power can exceed 10 in the visible wavelength range. Our main goal is to use STJ's for astronomical observations at low light level in the near infrared. This paper put the emphasis on two main points: the improvement of the tantalum absorber epitaxy and the development of a new version of the fabrication process for making Ta/Al-AlOx-Al/Ta photon counting STJ's. The main features of this process are that pixels have aligned electrodes and vias patterned through a protecting SiO2 layer. These vias are then used to contact the top electrode layer. We use a double thin aluminum trapping layer on top of a 150 nm thick Ta absorber grown epitaxially. Photon counting experiments with Ta junction array are presented at = 0.78 µm. Digital filtering methods are used to compute the photon counting data in order to minimize the effects of noise.
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Corentin Jorel, Philippe Feautrier, Jean-Claude Villegier. Tantalum STJ for Photon Counting Detectors. IEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 2005, 15 (2), pp.587. ⟨10.1109/TASC.2005.849949⟩. ⟨hal-00633009⟩

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