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29 September 2005 Fiber-coupled quantum-communications receiver based on two NbN superconducting single-photon detectors
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We present the design and performance of a novel, two-channel single-photon receiver, based on two fiber-coupled NbN superconducting single-photon detectors (SSPDs). The SSPDs are nanostructured superconducting meanders covering an area of 100 μm2 and are known for ultrafast and efficient counting of single, visible-to-infrared photons. Their operation has been explained within a phenomenological hot-electron photoresponse model. Our receiver is intended for fiber-based quantum cryptography and communication systems, operational at near-infrared (NIR) telecommunication wavelengths, λ = 1.3 μm and λ = 1.55 μm. Coupling between the NbN detector and a single-mode optical fiber was achieved using a specially designed, micromechanical photoresist ring, positioned directly over the SSPD active area. The positioning accuracy of the ring was below 1 μm. The receiver with SSPDs was placed (immersed) in a standard liquid-helium transport Dewar and kept without interruption for over two months at 4.2 K. At the same time, the optical fiber inputs and electrical outputs were kept at room temperature. Our best system reached a system quantum efficiency of up to 0.3 % in the NIR radiation range, with the detector coupling efficiency of about 30 %. The response time was measured to be about 250 ps and was limited by our read-out electronics. The measured jitter was close to 35 ps. The presented performance parameters show that our NIR single photon detectors are suitable for practical quantum cryptography and for applications in quantum-correlation experiments.
© (2005) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
W. Slysz, M. Wegrzecki, J. Bar, P. Grabiec, M. Górska, C. Latta, V. Zwiller, A. Pearlman, A. Cross, A. Korneev, P. Kouminov, K. Smirnov, B. Voronov, G. Gol'tsman, A. Verevkin, M. Currie, and R. Sobolewski "Fiber-coupled quantum-communications receiver based on two NbN superconducting single-photon detectors", Proc. SPIE 5957, Infrared Photoelectronics, 59571K (29 September 2005);

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