4 August 2003 High-efficiency single photon detection via frequency up-conversion
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Abstract
We propose a method of single photon detection of infrared (IR) photons at potentially higher efficiencies and lower noise than allowed by traditional IR band Avalanche Photodiodes (APD). By up-converting the photon from IR, e.g., 1550 nm, to a visible wavelength in a nonlinear crystal, we can utilize the much higher efficiency of visible wavelength APDs. We have used a nonlinear crystal -- Periodically Poled Lithium Niobate (PPLN) -- and a pulsed 1064-nm Nd:YAG laser to perform the up-conversion to a 631-nm photon. When properly quasi-phase-matched, PPLN provides a large enough second order nonlinear susceptibility that near unit conversion efficiency of the IR photon into the visible should be possible. We have been able to observe peak conversion efficiencies as high as 80%, and have demonstrated scaling down to the single photon level while maintaining a background of 3 x 10-4 dark counts/count. Since the PPLN only acts on one polarization of the single photon, we also propose a 2-crystal extension of this scheme whereby orthogonal polarizations may be up-converted coherently, thereby enabling complete quantum state transduction.
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Aaron P. VanDevender, Paul G. Kwiat, "High-efficiency single photon detection via frequency up-conversion", Proc. SPIE 5105, Quantum Information and Computation, (4 August 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.487082; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.487082
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