From Event: SPIE Commercial + Scientific Sensing and Imaging, 2018
Superconducting single photon detectors consist of a narrow and thin wire of superconductor and can detect single photons with high efficiency and high speed. Simultaneous optimization of the detection efficiency and detector response time is difficult because the response time is set by the dimensions of the wire (cross section and length) while the detection efficiency is determined by both the internal detection mechanism and the dimensions of the wire. Wider and shorter wires are easier to fabricate, are more robust and lead to shorter detector reset time, but are generally less efficient. Experiments employing detector tomography provide important insights into the photon detection mechanism and indicate a detection mechanism where the edges of the wire are more efficient. This leads to a position dependent local detection efficiency that can be explained in the context of a photon-assisted-vortex-entry model and predicts an optimum wire width ~70 nm. A 50 nm wide silicon nanowire deposited on top of a 150 nm wide NbN nanowire directs light at 1550 nm wavelength to the edges and improves both the total absorption efficiency and the internal detection efficiency of the wire. The total absorption efficiency can be enhanced by 30% while the internal detection efficiency is increased by 70%. Assuming that the wire covers a similar area the detector response time is reduced 4-fold compared to the standard design using a 70 nm wide wire.
Michiel de Dood, "Design of efficient superconducting nanowire single photon detectors for near-infrared wavelengths," Proc. SPIE 10659, Advanced Photon Counting Techniques XII, 106590F (Presented at SPIE Commercial + Scientific Sensing and Imaging: April 19, 2018; Published: 14 May 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2307635.
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