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We report on the GHz counting rate and jitter of our nanostructured superconducting single-photon detectors (SSPDs). The devices were patterned in 4-nm-thick and about 100-nm-wide NbN meander stripes and covered a 10-μm×10-μm area. We were able to count single photons at both the visible and infrared telecommunication wavelengths at rates of over 2 GHz with a timing jitter of below 18 ps. We also present the model for the origin of the SSPD switching dynamics and jitter, based on the time-delay effect in the phase-slip-center formation mechanism during the detector photoresponse process. With further improvements in our readout electronics, we expect that our SSPDs will reach counting rates of up to 10 GHz. An integrated quantum communications receiver based on two fiber-coupled SSPDs and operating at 1550-nm wavelength is also presented.
Date of Publication: June 2005