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Austin Minnich (California Institute of Technology)

Campus PI


  • Kieran Cleary (California Institute of Technology)
  • Anthony Readhead (California Institute of Technology)
  • Jacob Kooi (Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
  • Pekka Kangaslahti (Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
  • Zubair Abdulla (Jet Propulsion Laboratory)


Project Goal:

The objective of this research is to develop a new type of high electron mobility transistor (HEMT) with potential to exhibit unprecedented low noise figure at room temperature. This advance will be achieved by incorporating a strained barrier layer into the epitaxial stack so as to improve the quantum confinement of electrons in the channel. Recent findings from our team in the Cahill Radio Astronomy Laboratory (CRAL) indicate that such devices could exhibit room-temperature noise figures competitive with those of present amplifiers at cryogenic temperatures. This works aims to perform the initial development of this concept by fabricating and characterizing the DC and microwave performance of strained-barrier HEMTs. This successful demonstration of improved quantum confinement positively impacting microwave noise performance will set the stage for further development and optimization of the concept for applications. The availability of low noise amplifiers that do not require cryogenic cooling will have a transformative effect on the science return of future space missions.