15 February 2018 Performance and characterization of a modular superconducting nanowire single photon detector system for space-to-Earth optical communications links
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Abstract
Space-to-ground photon-counting optical communication links supporting high data rates over large distances require enhanced ground receiver sensitivity in order to reduce the mass and power burden on the spacecraft transmitter. Superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors (SNSPDs) have been demonstrated to offer superior performance in detection efficiency, timing resolution, and count rates over semiconductor photodetectors, and are a suitable technology for high photon efficiency links. Recently photon detectors based on superconducting nanowires have become commercially available, and we have assessed the characteristics and performance of one such commercial system as a candidate for potential utilization in ground receiver designs. The SNSPD system features independent channels which can be added modularly. We analyze the scalability of the system to support different data rates, as well as consider coupling concepts and issues as the number of channels increases.
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Brian E. Vyhnalek, Sarah A. Tedder, Jennifer M. Nappier, "Performance and characterization of a modular superconducting nanowire single photon detector system for space-to-Earth optical communications links", Proc. SPIE 10524, Free-Space Laser Communication and Atmospheric Propagation XXX, 1052419 (15 February 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2290397; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2290397
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