This project seeks to transform the understanding of low noise amplifiers and produce a new generation of such devices. Low noise amplifiers are a critical technology for radio astronomy, and they also have other practical applications. This project consists of a combined theoretical and experimental approach toward improving the understanding and performance of these devices and deploying new devices for astronomy. Continued US leadership in radio astronomy as well as quantum computing and advanced radar systems depends on such progress. Radio astronomy (such as the recent imaging of a black hole) addresses a basic human need to understand the universe. Quantum computing will provide increased cyber-security, and advanced radar systems help secure the national defense.
This project will develop a theoretical solid-state physics-based description of the sources of noise in indium phosphide (InP) high electron-mobility transistors (HEMT) and use it to optimize the cryogenic performance of low noise amplifiers. In order to perform the experimental aspect of this work, a new test and measurement facility, an automated cryogenic probe station, will be developed and used. The chip sets produced by this project will facilitate the ongoing, and future, fabrication of new instruments and facilities such as the next-generation Very Large Array (ngVLA) and radio cameras for the Green Bank Telescope. These new facilities will enable transformative science in the areas of large-scale spectroscopic mapping of the Milky Way and nearby galaxies; studying the first galaxies via measurements of highly-redshifted carbon-monoxide (CO); and unveiling the formation of solar system analogs on terrestrial scales.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.