Low temperature photon detectors are increasingly attractive tools for materials analysis. Their range of applications has broadened from early work on x-ray fluorescence and now spans the electromagnetic spectrum from terahertz to gamma-ray energies. In addition, low temperature detectors (LTDs) show promise for measuring the energy of neutrons, alpha particles, simple ions, and complex biomolecules. LTDs are emerging from low temperature laboratories and can now be found at a growing range of analytical facilities including electron microscopes, mass spectrometers, ion traps, and synchrotrons. Here, we review these uses of LTDs. Despite the remarkable capabilities of LTDs, they are still at the stage of demonstration measurements for some applications. We discuss obstacles to the more widespread use of LTDs and some emerging solutions to these obstacles.