Schematic for the cross-section of a TACIT mixer (right); Optical image of a TACIT mixer with an SEM image of the active region (top)
Terahertz Heterodyne Detector Based on the Intersubband Transition of a GaAs/AlGaAs Quantum Well
We are developing a new type of THz heterodyne detector based on a high-mobility 2-dimensional electron gas (2DEG) in a GaAs/AlGaAs quantum well for spectroscopic applications in deep-space and planetary missions. Named as Tunable Antenna-Coupled Intersubband Terahertz (TACIT) mixer, the detector is a four-terminal hot-electron bolometer (HEB) mixer that uses intersubband transition for efficient absorption of THz radiation in a 2DEG. The dual gate structure of TACIT mixers, necessary for the precise control of the intersubband absorption characteristics, enables a high coupling efficiency at THz frequencies and tunability in the detection frequency, but also poses challenges in the fabrication, modelling, and operation of the device. In this talk, I will discuss our recent experimental results with a prototype TACIT mixer that we have fabricated with a flip-chip process that enables dual-side processing of a sub-micron thick quantum well membrane.