Superconducting single-photon detectors at the state of the art

Categorie(s) : News, Research

Published : 4 February 2016

INAC, KTH (Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology), and Dutch startup Single Quantum have teamed up to produce superconducting single-photon detectors (SSPD) that set a new state of the art with 85% collection yields. Current SSPDs offer yields of 35%. The key to the ultra-high yields? The superconducting nanowire that detects the photons is placed in an optical cavity, enabling it to collect much more light. SSPDs’ main competitors, silicon-based avalanche diodes, struggle to reach yields of 40%; plus the spectral range they cover is limited.
And, to push yields above the 90% bar, the researchers have developed another innovation that makes the SSPDs independent from the incident polarization; a patent is pending. The astronomical yields more than offset the disadvantages of having to cool the detectors to 4 K.



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