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Spectroscopy With Nanostructured Superconducting Single Photon Detectors

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13 Author(s)
Reiger, E. ; Delft Univ. of Technol., Delft ; Dorenbos, S. ; Zwiller, V. ; Korneev, A.
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Superconducting single-photon detectors (SSPDs) are nanostructured devices made from ultrathin superconducting films. They are typically operated at liquid helium temperature and exhibit high detection efficiency, in combination with very low dark counts, fast response time, and extremely low timing jitter, within a broad wavelength range from ultraviolet to mid-infrared (up to 6 mum). SSPDs are very attractive for applications such as fiber-based telecommunication, where single-photon sensitivity and high photon-counting rates are required. We review the current state-of-the-art in the SSPD research and development, and compare the SSPD performance to the best semiconducting avalanche photodiodes and other superconducting photon detectors. Furthermore, we demonstrate that SSPDs can also be successfully implemented in photon-energy-resolving experiments. Our approach is based on the fact that the size of the hotspot, a nonsuperconducting region generated upon photon absorption, is linearly dependent on the photon energy. We introduce a statistical method, where, by measuring the SSPD system detection efficiency at different bias currents, we are able to resolve the wavelength of the incident photons with a resolution of 50 nm.

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Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics, IEEE Journal of  (Volume:13 ,  Issue: 4 )