Forty years after the first application of Superconducting Quantum Interference Devices (SQUIDs) ,  for geophysical purposes, they have recently become a valued tool for mineral exploration. One of the most common applications is time domain (or transient) electromagnetics (TEM), an active method, where the inductive response from the ground to a changing current (mostly rectangular) in a loop on the surface is measured. After the current in the transmitter coil is switched, eddy currents are excited in the ground, which decay in a manner dependent on the conductivity of the underlying geologic structure. The resulting secondary magnetic field at the surface is measured during the off-time by a receiver coil (induced voltage) or by a magnetometer (e.g. SQUID or fluxgate). The recorded transient signal quality is improved by stacking positive and negative decays. Alternatively, the TEM results can be inverted and give the electric conductivity of the ground over depth. Since SQUIDs measure the magnetic field with high sensitivity and a constant frequency transfer function, they show a superior performance compared to conventional induction coils, especially in the presence of strong conductors. As the primary field, and especially its slew rate, are quite large, SQUID systems need to have a large slew rate and dynamic range. Any flux jump would make the use of standard stacking algorithms impossible. IPHT and Supracon are developing and producing SQUID systems based on low temperature superconductors (LTS, in our case niobium), which are now state-of-the-art. Due to the large demand, we are additionally supplying systems with high temperature superconductors (HTS, in our case YBCO). While the low temperature SQUID systems have a better performance (noise and slew rate), the high temperature SQUID systems are easier to handle in the field. The superior performance of SQUIDs compared to induction coils is the most important factor for the detection of good conductors at large depth or ore bodies underneath conductive overburden.
We report the fabrication of magnetic metallic contaminant detectors using multiple high-Tc SQUIDs (superconducting quantum interference devices) for a lithium-ion battery cathode sheet. Finding ultra-small metallic foreign matter is an important issue for a manufacturer because metallic contaminants carry the risk of an internal short. When contamination occurs, the manufacturer of the product suffers a great loss from recalling the tainted product. Hence, a detection method of small contaminants is required. Preventing such accidents is also an important issue for manufacturers of industrial products. Given the lower detection limit for practical X-ray usage is in the order of 1 mm, a detection system using a SQUID is a more powerful tool for sensitive inspections. We design and set up an eight-channel roll-to-roll high-Tc dc-SQUID inspection system for a lithium ion battery cathode sheet. We report the evaluation results that the detection of a small φ18 -μm steel particle on a lithium-ion battery cathode sheet was successfully done.
A four-pixel-array superconducting transition-edge sensor (TES) microcalorimeter with a mushroom-shaped absorber was fabricated for the energy dispersive spectroscopy performed on a transmission electron microscope. The TES consists of a bilayer of Au/Ti with either a 50-nm or 120-nm thickness. The absorber of 5.0 μm thick is made from a Au layer and its stem is deposited in the center of the TES surface. A Ta2O5 insulating layer of 100-nm thickness is inserted between the overhang region of the absorber and the TES surface. A selected pixel of the TES microcalorimeter was operated for the detection of Np L X-rays emitted from an 241Am source. A response of the TES microcalorimeter to L X-rays was obtained by analyzing detection signal pulses with using the optimal filter method. An energy resolution was obtained to be 33 eV of the full width at half maximum value at 17.751 keV of Np Lβ 1 considering its natural width of 13.4 eV. Response to L X-rays emitted from a mixture source of 238Pu, 239Pu and 241Am was obtained by operating the selected pixel of the TES microcalorimeter. Major L X-ray peaks of progeny elements of α decay of Pu and Am isotopes were clearly identified in the obtained energy spectrum. The experimental results demonstrated the separation of 241Am and plutonium isotopes by L X-ray spectroscopy.
Three-dimensionally assembled TES X-ray microcalorimeter arrays may be utilized for three purposes: (1) to obtain wide X-ray energy coverage of TES microcalorimeters, (2) to distinguish charged particle events from X-ray events, (3) to reconstruct Compton-scattering geometry for hard X-ray Compton cameras. We have designed and fabricated three-dimensionally assembled array of the minimum format i.e. 2 × 2 × 2 array in order to obtain a good energy resolution in a wide energy range of 0.5–20 keV and a high maximum counting rate of 2000 cps for energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer (EDS) system for a transmission electron microscope (TEM). Although we could not obtain required energy resolution because of a problem in the refrigerator system, we confirmed the operation of the three-dimensional array.
Superconducting tunnel junction (STJ) array detectors can exhibit excellent performance with respect to energy resolution, detection efficiency, and counting rate in the soft X-ray energy range, by which those excellent properties STJ array detectors are well suited for detecting X-rays at synchrotron radiation facilities. However, in order to achieve a high throughput analysis for trace impurity elements such as dopants in structural or functional materials, the sensitive area of STJ array detectors should be further enlarged up to more than 10 times larger by increasing the pixel number in array detectors. In this work, for a large STJ-pixel number of up to 1000 within a 10 mm- square compact chip, we have introduced three-dimensional (3D) structure by embedding a wiring layer in a SiO2 isolation layer underneath a base electrode layer of STJs. The 3D structure is necessary for close-packed STJ arrangement, avoiding overlay of lead wiring, which is common in conventional two-dimensional layout. The fabricated STJ showed excellent current-voltage characteristics having low subgap currents less than 2 nA, which are the same as those of conventional STJs. An STJ pixel has an energy resolution of 31 eV (FWHM) for C-Kα (277 eV).
Recently, a next-generation heterodyne mixer detector—a hot electron bolometer (HEB) mixer employing a superconducting microbridge—has gradually opened up terahertz-band astronomy. The surrounding state-of-the-art technologies including fabrication processes, 4 K cryostats, cryogenic low-noise amplifiers, local oscillator sources, micromachining techniques, and spectrometers, as well as the HEB mixers, have played a valuable role in the development of super-low-noise heterodyne spectroscopy systems for the terahertz band. The current developmental status of terahertz-band HEB mixer receivers and their applications for spectroscopy and astronomy with ground-based, airborne, and satellite telescopes are presented.
A precise measurement of Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) provides us rich information about the universe. In particular, its asymmetric polarization patterns, B-modes, are smoking gun signature of inflationary universe. Magnitude of the B-modes is order of 10 nK. Its measurement requires a high sensitive millimeter-wave telescope with a large number of superconducting detectors on its focal plane. Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detector (MKID) is appropriate detector for this purpose. MKID camera has been developed in cooperation of National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN), High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK), and Okayama University. Our developments of MKID include: fabrication of high-quality superconducting film; optical components for a camera use; and readout electronics. For performance evaluation of total integrated system of our MKID camera, a calibration system was also developed. The system was incorporated in a 0.1 K dilution refrigerator with modulated polarization source. These developed technologies are applicable to other types of detectors.
Since the birth of astrophysics, astronomers have been using free-space optics to analyze light falling on Earth. In the future however, thanks to the advances in photonics and nanoscience/nanotechnology, much of the manipulation of light might be carried out using not optics but confined waveguides, or circuits, on a chip. This new generation of instruments will be not only extremely compact, but also powerful in performance because the integration enables a greater degree of multiplexing. The benefit is especially profound for space- or air-borne observatories, where size, weight, and mechanical reliability are of top priority. Recently, several groups around the world are trying to integrate ultra-wideband (UWB), low-resolution spectrometers for millimeter-submillimeter waves onto microchips, using superconducting microelectronics. The scope of this Paper is to provide a general introduction and a review of the state-of-the-art of this rapidly advancing field.
We report the energy-efficient optical input interface using NbN superconducting nanowire-based optical-to-electrical (SN-OE) converters for a single-flux-quantum (SFQ) data processing system. The SN-OE converters with small active areas ranging from 1×1 to 10×10 μm2 were fabricated to improve the recovery time by reducing the kinetic inductance of the nanowire. The SN-OE with the smallest area of 1×1 μm2 showed the recovery time of around 0.3 ns, while its detection efficiency for a single photon was reduced below 0.1% due to insufficient coupling efficiency with a single-mode optical fiber. However, the optical power dependence of the error rate of this device showed that the required optical power to achieve the error rate below 10-12 at 10 GHz operation is as large as 70 μW, which is still one order of magnitude lower than semiconductor photo diodes. We also demonstrated the operation of the SN-OE converters combined with the SFQ readout circuit and confirmed the operating speed up to 77 MHz.
We are developing a fast Fourier transform (FFT) processor using high-speed and low-power single-flux-quantum (SFQ) circuits. Our main concern is the development of an SFQ butterfly processing circuit, which is the core processing circuit in the FFT processor. In our previous study, we have confirmed the complete operation of an integer-type butterfly processing circuit using the AIST 2.5 kA/cm2 Nb standard process at the frequency of 25 GHz. In this study, we have designed an integer-type butterfly processing circuit using the AIST 10 kA/cm2 Nb advanced process and confirmed its high-speed operation at the maximum frequency of 50 GHz.
A readout technique using single-flux-quantum (SFQ) circuits enables superconducting single photon detectors (SSPDs) to operate at further high-speed, where a mutually-coupled dc-to-SFQ (MC-dc/SFQ) converter is used as an interface between SSPDs and SFQ circuits. In this work, we investigated pulse response of the MC-dc/SFQ converter. We employed on-chip pulse generators to evaluate pulse response of the MC-dc/SFQ converter for various pulses. The MC-dc/SFQ converter correctly operated for the pulse current with the amplitude of 52 μA and the width of 179 ps. In addition, we examined influence of the pulse amplitude and width to operation of the MC-dc/SFQ converter by numerical simulation. The simulation results indicated that the MC-dc/SFQ converter had wide operation margins for pulse current with amplitudes of 30–60 μA irrespective of the pulse widths.
In this paper we describe and experimentally validate a dual-band digital predistortion (DPD) model we propose that takes account of the intermodulation and harmonic distortion produced when the center frequencies of input bands have a harmonic relationship. We also describe and experimentally validate our proposed novel dual-band power amplifier (PA) linearization architecture consisting of a single feedback loop employing a dual-band mixer. Experiment results show that the DPD linearization the proposed model provides can compensate for intermodulation and harmonic distortion in a way that the conventional two-dimensional (2-D) DPD approach cannot. The proposed feedback architecture should make it possible to simplify analog-to-digital converter (ADC) design and eliminate the time lag between different feedback paths.
A compact composite right/left-handed transmission-line (CRLH TL) stub resonator is presented. The bandpass frequency of the resonator and the adjacent transmission-zeros are determined by the negative order resonance modes of the stub line. We demonstrate that these resonance frequencies can be arbitrarily controlled by using non-identical, unbalanced unit cells, leading to enhanced loaded-Q as well as unloaded-Q. We show that despite the presence of lumped element loss the unloaded-Q is enhanced by a factor of 2 compared to that of microstrip line as a result of nearly-zero group velocity. As a consequence, the loaded-Q can be increased without incurring significant insertion loss as in the case of conventional stub resonators on the same substrate. The physical mechanisms of the distinct features are discussed based on an equivalent dispersion diagram, a concept introduced to model general one-port CRLH TL used as a stub line.
Super regenerative detectors using a resonant tunneling diode (RTD) were fabricated and investigated for ultra-high frequency detectors. A key point is to use the RTD super regenerative detector for detecting much higher frequencies than the free-running oscillation frequency of the detector. This is possible owing to the superior high frequency characteristics of the RTDs. This has various advantages, such as circuit simplicity, easy design, and low power consumption. Clear detection of 50 GHz signal was demonstrated with a super regenerative detector which has 1.5 GHz free-running frequency. Moreover, detailed experiments revealed that the frequency dependence of the detection efficiency is smooth, and the harmonic frequencies have no effect. This is advantageous for high frequency detection.
As semiconductor devices scale into deep sub-micron regime, the reliability issue due to radiation-induced soft errors increases in on-chip memory systems. Neutron-induced soft errors transiently upset adjacent information of multiple cells in these systems. Although single error correction and double error detection (SEC–DED) codes have been employed to protect on-chip memories from soft errors, they are not sufficient against multiple cell upsets (MCUs). SEC–DED and double adjacent error correction (SEC–DED–DAEC) codes have recently been proposed to address this problem. However, these codes do not the resolve mis-correction of double non-adjacent errors because syndromes for double non-adjacent errors are equal to that of double adjacent errors. The occurrence of this mis-correction in region of critical memory section such as operating systems may lead to system malfunction. To eliminate mis-correction, the syndrome spaces for double adjacent and double non-adjacent errors are not shared using the matrix with reversed colexicographic order. The proposed codes are implemented using hardware description language and synthesized using 32 nm technology library. The results show that there is no mis-correction in the proposed codes. In addition, the performance enhancement of the decoder is approximately 51.9% compared to double error correction codes for on-chip memories. The proposed SEC–DED–DAEC codes is suitable for protecting on-chip memory applications from MCUs-type soft errors.
A new trigger circuit based on up/down counter is proposed. This trigger circuit consists of a up/down counter and a pulse conversion circuit. Compared with a trigger circuit based on 32-bit counter, the proposed trigger circuit occupies less circuit area and consumes less power consumption, while the trigger process can be inversed, increasing the controllability of the Trojan.
The short-channel effect (SCE) in a MOSFET with an atomically thin MoS2 channel was studied using a TCAD simulator. We derived the surface potential roll-up, drain-induced barrier lowering (DIBL), threshold voltage, and subthreshold swing (SS) as indexes of the SCE and analyzed their dependency on the channel thickness (number of atomic layers) and channel length. The minimum scalable channel length for a one-atomic-layer-thick MoS2 MOSFET was determined from the threshold voltage roll-off to be 7.6 nm. The one-layer-thick device showed a small DIBL of 87 mV/V at a 20 nm gate length. By using high-k gate insulator, an SS lower than 70 mV/dec is achievable in sub-10-nm-scale devices.