Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NIST micro sensor and micro fridge make cool pair

18.04.2008
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have combined two tiny but powerful NIST inventions on a single microchip, a cryogenic sensor and a microrefrigerator. The combination offers the possibility of cheaper, simpler and faster precision analysis of materials such as semiconductors and stardust.

As described in an upcoming issue of Applied Physics Letters,* the NIST team combined a transition-edge sensor (TES), a superconducting thin film that identifies X-ray signatures far more precisely than any other device, with a solid-state refrigerator based on a sandwich of a normal metal, an insulator and a superconductor.

The combo chip, a square about a quarter inch on a side, achieved the first cooling of a fully functional detector (or any useful device) with a microrefrigerator. The paper also reports the greatest temperature reduction in a separate object by microrefrigerators: a temperature drop of 110 millikelvins (mK), or about a tenth of a degree Celsius.

TES sensors are most sensitive at about 100 mK (a tenth of a degree Celsius above absolute zero). However, these ultralow temperatures are usually reached only by bulky, complex refrigerators. Because the NIST chip can provide some of its own cooling, it can be combined easily with a much simpler refrigerator that starts at room temperature and cools down to about 300 mK, says lead scientist Joel Ullom. In this setup, the chip would provide the second stage of cooling from 300mK down to the operating temperature (100 mK).

One promising application is cheaper, simpler semiconductor defect analysis using X-rays. A small company is already commercializing an earlier version of TES technology for this purpose. In another application, astronomical telescopes are increasingly using TES arrays to take pictures of the early universe at millimeter wavelengths. Use of the NIST chips would lower the temperature and increase the speed at which these images could be made, Ullom says.

For background on how TESs and microrefrigerators work, see “Copper Ridges Nearly Double X-ray Sensor Performance” (Tech Beat, Nov. 17, 2005), and “Chip-scale Refrigerators Cool Bulk Objects” (Tech Beat, April 21, 2005).

The work was supported in part by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

* N.A. Miller, G.C. O’Neil, J.A. Beall, G.C. Hilton, K.D. Irwin, D.R. Schmidt, L.R. Vale and J.N. Ullom. High resolution X-ray transition-edge sensor cooled by tunnel junction refrigerators. Forthcoming in Applied Physics Letters.

Laura Ost | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nist.gov

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun
18.04.2019 | University of Warwick

nachricht In vivo super-resolution photoacoustic computed tomography by localization of single dyed droplets
18.04.2019 | Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter

  • Coolest and smallest star to produce a superflare found
  • Star is a tenth of the radius of our Sun
  • Researchers led by University of Warwick could only see...

Im Focus: Quantum simulation more stable than expected

A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.

Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...

Im Focus: Largest, fastest array of microscopic 'traffic cops' for optical communications

The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks

Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...

Im Focus: A long-distance relationship in femtoseconds

Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.

Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...

Im Focus: Researchers 3D print metamaterials with novel optical properties

Engineers create novel optical devices, including a moth eye-inspired omnidirectional microwave antenna

A team of engineers at Tufts University has developed a series of 3D printed metamaterials with unique microwave or optical properties that go beyond what is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

Fraunhofer FHR at the IEEE Radar Conference 2019 in Boston, USA

09.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

New automated biological-sample analysis systems to accelerate disease detection

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

18.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

New eDNA technology used to quickly assess coral reefs

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>