Cryogenic Receivers
15 Nov 2010



RAL Space develops and supplies cryogenic terahertz heterodyne receiver systems.

Cryogenic tunnel junction receiver.

​​RAL 500GHz (0.5THz) super conducting receiver operating at 4K​


To obtain the best detection sensitivity, millimetre and sub-millimetre wave (terahertz) heterodyne receiver systems are often operated at low (cryogenic) temperatures. In the case of Superconductor-Insulator-Superconductor (SIS) tunnel junction receivers, an ambient temperature of ~4K is mandatory. Semi-conductor based receiver systems using Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) Schottky barrier diodes are less demanding and whilst room temperature operation is possible, best sensitivity is realised at an ambient temperature approaching 15K. In either case, the Millimetre-wave Technology Group is highly experienced in developing cryogenic receivers and related cryogenic infrastructure. 

Our cryogenic receivers have been deployed at ground sites, on high-altitude aircraft and balloons, and as a part of sole or multinational experiments and observation campaigns in support of astronomy and Earth Observation science. RAL Space and national and international partner scientists have benefitted from the spectral data acquired by our systems. 

Prospective users are those requiring the highest sensitivity for the applications involving high-resolution spectroscopy. Systems are predominantly custom designed in relation to the application and the user environment. 

For more information, please contact:

Professor Brian Ellison - Head of the Millimetre-wave Technology and Chilbolton Radio Propagation Group 

For more information please contact: RAL Space Enquiries