Superconducting Nanowire Single-Photon Detectors

Nov. 30 10:00-10:25

*Varun B Verma1, Boris Korzh2, Benedikt Hampel1, Prasana Ravindran1, Yao Zhai1, Emma Wollman2, Matthew Shaw2, Richard Mirin1, Sae Woo Nam1

Superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors (SNSPDs) are a class of superconducting single photon detectors combining high efficiency (>98% at 1550 nm), excellent timing resolution (~ 10s of ps), and ultra-low dark count rates (< 1 count/day). Historically, they have been widely used within the quantum optics community at telecommunications wavelengths in applications such as quantum computing and fundamental tests of quantum mechanics. Recently, we have developed SNSPDs operating at wavelengths extending into the mid-infrared from 2 – 10 microns. The mid-infrared is an important region of the spectrum for astronomy and chemical sensing, due to the unique spectral fingerprint of substances such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, and nitrous oxide. These molecules could be indicative of life on planets orbiting other stars, for instance. However, applications in astronomy will likely require large-format arrays of at least 1 kilopixel. While 1 kilopixel arrays were previously demonstrated by our group in the near-infrared, the multiplexing scheme cannot be used for mid-infrared-optimized SNSPDs. Recently, we have demonstrated a new multiplexing technique specifically for mid-infrared SNSPDs which relies on the thermal crosstalk between interleaved SNSPD pixels on suspended membranes. We will present the performance of 64 – pixel arrays as well as preliminary results on kilopixel-scale arrays. In addition, we will discuss the challenges involved in calibrating SNSPD detection efficiency in the mid-infrared spectrum, and will present a cryogenic system with integrated cryogenic spectrometer we have recently constructed for efficiency calibration. Finally, I will breifly discuss our recent development of SNSPDs integrated into ion traps for quantum computing applications.

Keywords: superconducting , detector, nanowire, photon