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Faint Photonics Group

The Faint Photonics Group develops new light sources, detectors, and measurement techniques that operate at the few photon limit to address national needs in the areas of quantum information science, remote sensing, long-distance communications, and imaging.

The smallest unit of light is a "photon". Generation, manipulation and measurement of light at or near the fundamental limit of a photon can enhance the performance of many optical systems. Remote sensing, long-distance communications, biological imaging, and quantum information science are some near-term applications that would benefit immensely from better optical components and techniques that work efficiently at few or single photon levels. However, the technologies to generate, manipulate, and detect these states of light are inadequate for the emerging applications. The single photonics and quantum information project staff develops new light sources, detectors, and measurement techniques to address these needs.

News and Updates

Projects and Programs


Single-photon detection in the mid-infrared up to 10 micron wavelength using tungsten silicide superconducting nanowire detectors

Varun Verma, Adriana Lita, Yao Zhai, Heli C. Vora, Richard Mirin, Sae Woo Nam, Boris Korzh, Alex Walter, Ryan Briggs, Marco Colangelo, Emma Wollman, Andrew Beyer, Jason Allmaras, D. Zhu, Ekkehart Schmidt, A. G. Kozorezov, Matthew Shaw
We developed superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors (SNSPDs) based on tungsten silicide (WSi) that show saturated internal detection efficiency up to

Optoelectronic Intelligence

Jeff Shainline
To design and construct hardware for general intelligence, we must consider principles of both neuroscience and very-large-scale integration. For large neural

Quantum circuits with many photons on a programmable nanophotonic chip

Adriana Lita, Sae Woo Nam, Thomas Gerrits, J. M. Arrazola, V. Bergholm, K Bradler, T R. Bromley, M J. Collins, I Dhand, A Fumagalli, A Goussev, L G. Helt, J Hundal, T Isacsson, R B. Israel, N Quesada, V D. Vaidya, Z Vernon, Y Zhang
Growing interest in quantum computing for practical applications has led to a surge in the availability of programmable machines for loading and executing

Quantum interference enables constant-time quantum information processing

Thomas Gerrits, Sae Woo Nam, Adriana E. Lita, M. Stobinska, A. Buraczewski, M. Moore, W.R. Clements, J.J. Renema, W.S. Kolthammer, A. Eckstein, I.A. Walmsley
It is an open question how fast information processing can be performed and whether quantum effects can speed up the best existing solutions. Signal extraction


SOEN Process Design Kits

This technology package, a.k.a process design kit (PDK), defines the NIST superconducting optoelectronics process: OLMAC. It is in the klayout format of


2022 IEEE Fellow - Sae Woo Nam

For pioneering development of superconducting single-photon detectors with applications to quantum communications and quantum computing.

2020 APS Fellow - Sae Woo Nam

For the pioneering development of high-quantum-efficiency photon detectors and of number-resolving photon detectors; and for the application

2019 PECASE - Varun Verma

For pushing the frontiers of quantum physics through pioneering new devices that detect and count single particles of light, and for serving


Group Leader