Untuned Josephson detectors of microwave and millimeter-wave radiation

C. K. So, Louisiana State University
W. O. Hamilton, Louisiana State University


The intrinsic response of Josephson junctions to microwave and far-infrared radiation is studied. Junctions are formed by pressing a Nb or Nb-Ti pointed wire onto a Nb thin film which in turn is pressed against the open end of a waveguide. Electromagnetic radiation is applied through the back of the film so that only the wave magnetic field is coupled to the junction. The change of the dc Josephson current is monitored at different levels of microwave power over a frequency range from 22 to 105 GHz. The dependence of the responsivity of these currents on film thickness over a range from 50 to 500 Å is studied. The observed responsivity agrees very well with that predicted by theory. Higher responsivity is observed for thinner films and lower microwave frequencies. The observed responsivity of a 50-Å film junction at 22 GHz is (6±3) ×10-2 V/W. To facilitate comparison of our results with other experiments, a more conventional coupling configuration in which the wave electric field rather than the wave magnetic field is coupled to the junction is studied. The results are comparable with other experiments with the responsivity in the E field coupling case 106 times larger than in the B field coupling configuration. We demonstrate that for successful use of simple Josephson junction detectors in the microwave and millimeter region it seems crucial to impedance match the junctions to the radiation source, probably by making them a part of a resonant structure.