M. Malnou : High-Tc Josephson Mixers For Terahertz Detection

High-Tc Josephson Mixers For Terahertz Detection

In this thesis, we used a high-Tc superconducting material, YBa2Cu3O7, to make a heterodyne mixer. We aimed at evaluating its ability for terahertz detection. We also worked towards the fabrication of an on-chip local oscillator, designed with an array of Josephson junctions. The originality of this study stems from a unique way of engineering Josephson junctions, based on ion irradiation. We described the complex physics of ion irradiated Josephson junctions through a modified version of quasi-classical Usadel equations, which have originally been derived for non homogenous low-Tc superconductivity. The d-c electronic transport measurements showed that our irradiated Josephson junctions are well described by the resistively shunted junction model. Furthermore, we explained the high frequency mixing operations with the three-port model, and proved the heterodyne detection of signals up to 400 GHz. We identified the heterodyne conversion efficiency as a product of three terms: two depending on impedance mismatches and the third one characterizing the intrinsic down-conversion ability of the Josephson junction. The dynamic range of the mixer, its conversion efficiency and its dependence on local oscillator power were measured and found to be in agreement with simulations. An array of synchronized junctions is necessary to create a powerful and spectrally pure local oscillator from Josephson oscillations. We identified the external locking as the only efficient mechanism to synchronize YBa2Cu3O7 irradiated junctions, showing its effect in simulated systems. We also reported a first evidence of synchronization in a two dimensional array of irradiated Josephson junctions.