125 - 211 GHz low noise MMIC amplifier design for radio astronomy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • External authors:
  • Daniel White
  • William McGenn
  • Kieran Cleary
  • Anthony Readhead
  • Richard Lai
  • Gerry Mei


To achieve the low noise and wide bandwidth required for millimeter wavelength astronomy applications, superconductor-insulator-superconductor (SIS) mixer based receiver systems have typically been used. This paper investigates the performance of high electron mobility transistor (HEMT) based low noise amplifiers (LNAs) as an alternative approach for systems operating in the 125 — 211 GHz frequency range. A four-stage, common-source, unconditionally stable monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) design is presented using the state-of-the-art 35 nm indium phosphide HEMT process from Northrop Grumman Corporation. The simulated MMIC achieves noise temperature (Te) lower than 58 K across the operational bandwidth, with average Te of 38.8 K (corresponding to less than 5 times the quantum limit (hf/k) at 170 GHz) and forward transmission of 20.5 ± 0.85 dB. Input and output reflection coefficients are better than -6 and -12 dB, respectively, across the desired bandwidth. To the authors knowledge, no LNA currently operates across the entirety of this frequency range. Successful fabrication and implementation of this LNA would challenge the dominance SIS mixers have on sub-THz receivers.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-143
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental Astronomy
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019