Parametric Microwave Amplification using a Tunable Superconducting Resonator
Chang, Chung Wai Sandbo
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In this Master thesis, I present a theoretical description and experimental measurements of a tunable microwave resonator operated as a parametric amplifier. Superconducting parametric amplifiers have attracted great interest in recent years as it has been demonstrated that they can operate with a noise performance at the standard quantum limit. Parametric amplification is achieved in the devices by modulating the electrical length of the resonator at twice the resonance frequency. The device measured in this thesis consists of a quarter-wavelength microwave resonator fabricated in a thin-film aluminum coplanar waveguide geometry. With a termination to ground through a Superconducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUID), the boundary condition of the resonator becomes sensitive to an applied magnetic field. This enables the tuning of the resonance frequencies, using a DC magnetic field, over a wide frequency range of 670MHz. Similarly, an AC magnetic field then allows for the modulation of the resonator electrical length at microwave frequencies. We characterized the device by first measuring the DC tuning curves of the 2nd and 3rd harmonics of the resonator, around 4 GHz and 6 GHz respectively. We then studied parametric amplification in the device when the electrical length was modulated at approximately twice the resonance frequency of one of the modes. We scanned the pump frequency and pump power over a wide range to study the region in parameters which gives parametric gain. We performed an in-depth parameter sweep over this region, identifying pump parameters that provided maximum gain and maximum system noise improvements compared the following HEMT amplifier. We find that the use of the parametric amplifier can improve the system noise temperature by more than 10 dB compared to a start-of-the-art commercial HEMT amplifier. This implies a performance near the standard quantum limit.