8 May 2012 Superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors for picosecond time resolved spectroscopic applications
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Raman scattering spectroscopy allows the direct and fast study of molecules by analysis of their vibrational normal modes. However, for certain materials the scattered signal is superimposed by fluorescence, which - if present - overwhelms the intrinsically weak Raman signal by orders of magnitude. An approved method to resolve the instantaneous Raman signal of interest from the delayed fluorescence background is time-correlated single-photon counting (TCSPC). For that, a single-photon detector with fast dynamics is required. The, so-called, superconducting nanowire single-photon detector (SNSPD) is a promising candidate for TCSPC. We have developed an optical instrument using such a SNSPD for the TCSPC method. The detector is made from a 5 nm thick NbN film, patterned by electron-beam lithography in a meander line with a width of 100 nm and a filling-factor of 50 %, covering an active area of 4 × 4 μm2. As a proof of concept we have shown that it is possible to resolve low power optical signals (λ between 520 and 630 nm) with a timing jitter of about 35 ps. Based on our experimental results we will discuss perspectives and limits of SNSPD application for spectroscopy.
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Torsten May, Julia Toussaint, Roman Grüner, Marco Schubert, Hans-Georg Meyer, Benjamin Dietzek, Jürgen Popp, Matthias Hofherr, Konstantin Il'in, Dagmar Henrich, Matthias Arndt, Michael Siegel, "Superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors for picosecond time resolved spectroscopic applications", Proc. SPIE 8427, Biophotonics: Photonic Solutions for Better Health Care III, 84274B (8 May 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.970543; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.970543

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