Abstract

A new principle of operation for superconducting bolometers is described. The bolometer is so constructed that heat transfer to a reservoir at a temperature below the superconducting transition temperature can occur only by conduction along the length of the bolometer. Under these conditions, it is possible to maintain a stable state in which the center of the bolometer strip is in the normal state and at a relatively high temperature while both ends are superconducting. This condition is maintained by passing a small heating current through the bolometer. Incident radiation will change the heat balance so as to increase the length of the central normal region, thereby increasing its electrical resistance. A theory of operation based on this principle is presented to demonstrate the extent to which the problems usually encountered in the use of superconducting bolometers can be avoided. The predicted very small noise-equivalent power and the short thermal time constant of the device should make it particularly suitable as a detector of far-infrared radiation.

© 1963 Optical Society of America

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