Quantum Communication and Quantum Networking. First International Conference, QuantumComm 2009, Naples, Italy, October 26-30, 2009, Revised Selected Papers

Research Article

Nano-Optical Studies of Superconducting Nanowire Single Photon Detectors

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  • @INPROCEEDINGS{10.1007/978-3-642-11731-2_20,
        author={John O’Connor and Paul Dalgarno and Michael Tanner and Richard Warburton and Robert Hadfield and Burm Baek and Sae Nam and Shigehito Miki and Zhen Wang and Masahide Sasaki},
        title={Nano-Optical Studies of Superconducting Nanowire Single Photon Detectors},
        proceedings={Quantum Communication and Quantum Networking. First International Conference, QuantumComm 2009, Naples, Italy, October 26-30, 2009, Revised Selected Papers},
        proceedings_a={QUANTUMCOMM},
        year={2012},
        month={10},
        keywords={Superconducting nanowire single photon detectors SSPD SNSPD},
        doi={10.1007/978-3-642-11731-2_20}
    }
    
  • John O’Connor
    Paul Dalgarno
    Michael Tanner
    Richard Warburton
    Robert Hadfield
    Burm Baek
    Sae Nam
    Shigehito Miki
    Zhen Wang
    Masahide Sasaki
    Year: 2012
    Nano-Optical Studies of Superconducting Nanowire Single Photon Detectors
    QUANTUMCOMM
    Springer
    DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-11731-2_20
John O’Connor1,*, Paul Dalgarno1, Michael Tanner1, Richard Warburton1, Robert Hadfield1, Burm Baek2, Sae Nam2, Shigehito Miki3, Zhen Wang3, Masahide Sasaki3
  • 1: Heriot Watt University
  • 2: National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
  • 3: National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT)
*Contact email: jao10@hw.ac.uk

Abstract

Single-photon detectors based upon superconducting nanowires offer single-photon sensitivity from the visible well into the infrared, encompassing the crucial telecommunication wavelengths. In addition they benefit from low dark counts (Hz) and low timing jitter (sub 100 ps). These detectors have recently been employed in photon-counting applications such as quantum cryptography and characterization of quantum emitters. Key challenges in the development of this emerging single-photon detector technology are improving device uniformity and improving optical coupling efficiency. We report on photoresponse mapping of superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors using nano-optical techniques. The device is mounted on a high resolution translation stage and illuminated with a focal spot significantly smaller than the device area (20 m x 20 m). Using a confocal microscope configuration, we achieve a diffraction limited spot size of 800 nm at = 950 nm. We have previously shown that uniform (high detection efficiency) and constricted (low efficiency) nanowire devices give contrasting photoresponse signatures – a broad plateau response across the whole device and a single point response respectively. Recent work on purposely-designed low fill-factor devices (100 nm linewidth, 1 mm period) has allowed us to resolve individual 100 nm width wires.