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A superconducting nanowire single-photon detector system for single-photon source characterisation



C. R. Fitzpatrick, C. M. Natarajan, R. E. Warburton, G. S. Buller, Burm Baek, Sae Woo Nam, Shigehito Miki, Z. Wang, Masahide Sasaki, A. G. Sinclair, Robert Hadfield


Single-photon sources and detectors are key enabling technologies for photonics in quantum information science and technology (QIST). QIST applications place high-level demands on the performance of sources and detectors; it is therefore essential that their properties can be characterized accurately. Superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors (SNSPDs) have spectral sensitivity from visible to beyond 2 υm in wavelength, picosecond timing resolution (Jitter <100 ps FWHM) and the capacity to operate ungated with low dark counts (<1 kHz). This facilitates data acquisition at high rates with an excellent signal-to-noise ratio. We report on the construction and characterization of a two-channel SNSPD system. The detectors are mounted in a closed-cycle refrigerator, which eliminates reliance on liquid cryogens. Our specification was to deliver a system with 1% efficiency in both channels at a wavelength of 1310 nm with 1 kHz dark count rate. A full width at half maximum timing jitter of less than 90 ps is achieved in both channels. The system will be used to detect individual photons generated by quantum-optical sources at telecom wavelengths. Examples include single-photon sources based on quantum dots (emitting at 1310 nm). The SNSPD system s spectral sensitivity and timing resolution make it suited to characterization of such sources, and to wider QIST applications.
Proceedings Title
Proceedings of SPIE
Conference Dates
April 5-9, 2010
Conference Location
Orlando, FL, US
Conference Title
SPIE Defense, Security + Sensing


quantum information, quantum optics, single-photon detector, single-photon source, superconducting detector


Fitzpatrick, C. , Natarajan, C. , Warburton, R. , Buller, G. , Baek, B. , Nam, S. , Miki, S. , Wang, Z. , Sasaki, M. , Sinclair, A. and Hadfield, R. (2010), A superconducting nanowire single-photon detector system for single-photon source characterisation, Proceedings of SPIE , Orlando, FL, US, [online], (Accessed April 20, 2024)
Created January 31, 2010, Updated October 12, 2021