We present a novel concept of photon number resolving detector based on 120-nm-wide superconducting stripes made of
4-nm-thick NbN film and connected in parallel (PNR-SSPD). The detector consisting of 5 strips demonstrate a capability
to resolve up to 4 photons absorbed simultaneously with the single-photon quantum efficiency of 2.5% and negligibly
low dark count rate.
We present our latest generation of superconducting single-photon detectors (SSPDs) patterned from 4-nm-thick NbN films, as meander-shaped ~0.5-mm-long and ~100-nm-wide stripes. The SSPDs exhibit excellent performance parameters in the visible-to-near-infrared radiation wavelengths: quantum efficiency (QE) of our best devices approaches a saturation level of ~30% even at 4.2 K (limited by the NbN film optical absorption) and dark counts as low as 2x10-4 Hz. The presented SSPDs were designed to maintain the QE of large-active-area devices, but, unless our earlier SSPDs, hampered by a significant kinetic inductance and a nanosecond response time, they are characterized by a low inductance and GHz counting rates. We have designed, simulated, and tested the structures consisting of several, connected in parallel, meander sections, each having a resistor connected in series. Such new, multi-element geometry led to a significant decrease of the device kinetic inductance without the decrease of its active area and QE. The presented improvement in the SSPD performance makes our detectors most attractive for high-speed quantum communications and quantum cryptography applications.
We report on our progress in research and development of ultrafast superconducting single-photon detectors (SSPDs) based on ultrathin NbN nanostructures. Our SSPDs were made of the 4-nm-thick NbN films with Tc ~11 K, patterned as meander-shaped, 100-nm-wide strips, and covering an area of 10×10 μm2. The detectors exploit a combined detection mechanism, where upon a single-photon absorption, a hotspot of excited electrons and redistribution of the biasing supercurrent, jointly produce a picosecond voltage transient signal across the superconducting nanostripe. The SSPDs are typically operated at 4.2 K, but their sensitivity in the infrared radiation range can be significantly improved by lowering the operating temperature from 4.2 K to 2 K. When operated at 2 K, the SSPD quantum efficiency (QE) for visible light photons reaches 30-40%, which is the saturation value limited by the optical absorption of our 4-nm-thick NbN film. With the wavelength increase of the incident photons,the QE of SSPDs decreases significantly, but even at the wavelength of 6 μm, the detector is able to count single photons and exhibits QE of about 10-2 %. The dark (false) count rate at 2 K is as low as 2x10-4 s,-1 which makes our detector essentially a background-limited sensor. The very low dark-count rate results in a noise equivalent power (NEP) below 10-18 WHz-1/2 for the mid-infrared range (6 μm). Further improvement of the SSPD performance in the mid-infrared range can be obtained by substituting NbN for another, lower-Tc materials with a narrow superconducting gap and low quasiparticles diffusivity. The use of such superconductors should shift the cutoff wavelength below 10 μm.
We present our studies on quantum efficiency (QE), dark counts, and noise equivalent power (NEP) of the latest generation of nanostructured NbN superconducting single-photon detectors (SSPDs) operated at 2.0 K. Our SSPDs are based on 4 nm-thick NbN films, patterned by electron beam lithography as highly-uniform 100÷120-nm-wide meander-shaped stripes, covering the total area of 10x10 μm2 with the meander filling factor of 0.7. Advances in the fabrication process and low-temperature operation lead to QE as high as ~30-40% for visible-light photons (0.56 μm wavelength)-the saturation value, limited by optical absorption of the NbN film. For 1.55 μm photons, QE was ~20% and decreased exponentially with the wavelength reaching ~0.02% at the 5-μm wavelength. Being operated at 2.0-K temperature the SSPDs revealed an exponential decrease of the dark count rate, what along with the high QE, resulted in the NEP as low as 5x10-21 W/Hz-1/2, the lowest value ever reported for near-infrared optical detectors. The SSPD counting rate was measured to be above 1 GHz with the pulse-to-pulse jitter below 20 ps. Our nanostructured NbN SSPDs operated at 2.0 K significantly outperform their semiconducting counterparts and find practical applications ranging from noninvasive testing of CMOS VLSI integrated circuits to ultrafast quantum communications and quantum cryptography.
It's well known that just synchrotron radiation (SR) polarization characteristics determine the accuracy of the spectroradiometric scale based on SR sources. It's very effective way to use a SR source in "big bunch" mode to diminish the SR polarization characteristic influence on the total errors of secondary standards calibrated against the primary standard based on SR sources. The other way is connected with special SR source mode when SR ~-polarization component has the "plane angular distribution at the medium plane.