We have demonstrated a low noise superconducting MgB2 hot electron bolometer (HEB) mixer working at the frequency of 5.3 terahertz (THz) with 20 K operation temperature. The bolometer consists of a 7 nm thick MgB2 submicrometer bridge contacted with a spiral antenna to couple THz radiation through a high resistive Si lens, and it has a superconducting critical temperature of 38 K. By using hot/cold blackbody loads and a Mylar beam splitter all in vacuum and applying a 5.25 THz far-infrared gas laser as a local oscillator, we measured a minimal double sideband receiver noise temperature of 3960 K at the LO power of 9.5 μW. This can be further reduced to 2920 K if a Si lens with an antireflection coating optimized at this frequency and a 3 μm beam splitter are used. The measured intermediate frequency (IF) noise bandwidth is 9.5 GHz. The low noise, wide IF bandwidth mixers, which can be operated in a compact, low dissipation Stirling cooler, are more suitable for space applications than the existing HEB mixers. Furthermore, we likely observed a signature of the double-gap in MgB2 by comparing current–voltage curves pumped at 5.3 and 1.6 THz.

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