Long photocarrier lifetime is a key issue for improving of room-temperature infrared photodetectors. Detectors based on
nanostructures with quantum dot clusters have the strong potential to overcome the limitations in quantum well detectors
due to various possibilities for engineering of specific kinetic and transport properties. Here we review photocarrier
kinetics in traditional QDIPs and present results of our investigations related to the QD structures with vertically
correlated dot clusters (VCDC). Modern technologies allow for fabrication of various VCDC with controllable
parameters, such as the cluster size, a distance between clusters, dot occupation etc. Modeling of photocarrier kinetics in
VCDC structures shows that the photocarrier capture time exponentially increases with increasing of the number of dots
in a cluster. It also exponentially increases as the occupation of a dot increases. At the same time, the capture processes
are weakly sensitive to geometrical parameters, such as the cluster size and the distance between clusters. Compared
with ordinary quantum-dot structures, where the photoelectron lifetime at room temperatures is of the order of 1-10 ps,
the VCDC structures allow for increasing the lifetime up to three orders of magnitude. We also study the nonlinear
effects of the electric field and optimize operating regimes of photodetectors. Complex investigations of these structures
pave the way for optimal design of the room-temperature QDIPs.
Single-photon detectors (SPDs) are the foundation of all quantum communications (QC) protocols.
Among different classes of SPDs currently studied, NbN superconducting SPDs (SSPDs) are established as the
best devices for ultrafast counting of single photons in the infrared (IR) wavelength range. The SSPDs are
nanostructured, 100 μm<sup>2</sup>
in total area, superconducting meanders, patterned by electron lithography in ultra-thin
NbN films. Their operation has been explained within a phenomenological hot-electron photoresponse model.
We present the design and performance of a novel, two-channel SPD receiver, based on two fiber-coupled NbN
SSPDs. The receivers have been developed for fiber-based QC systems, operational at 1.3 μm and 1.55 μm
telecommunication wavelengths. They operate in the temperature range from 4.2 K to 2 K, in which the NbN
SSPDs exhibit their best performance. The receiver unit has been designed as a cryostat insert, placed inside a
standard liquid-heliumstorage dewar. The input of the receiver consists of a pair of single-mode optical fibers,
equipped with the standard FC connectors and kept at room temperature. Coupling between the SSPD and the
fiber is achieved using a specially designed, precise micromechanical holder that places the fiber directly on top
of the SSPD nanostructure. Our receivers achieve the quantum efficiency of up to 7% for near-IR photons, with
the coupling efficiency of about 30%. The response time was measured to be < 1.5 ns and it was limited by our
read-out electronics. The jitter of fiber-coupled SSPDs is < 35 ps and their dark-count rate is below 1s<sup>-1</sup>. The
presented performance parameters show that our single-photon receivers are fully applicable for quantum correlation-type QC systems, including practical quantum cryptography.
We present our latest generation of superconducting single-photon detectors (SSPDs) patterned from 4-nm-thick NbN films, as meander-shaped ~0.5-mm-long and ~100-nm-wide stripes. The SSPDs exhibit excellent performance parameters in the visible-to-near-infrared radiation wavelengths: quantum efficiency (QE) of our best devices approaches a saturation level of ~30% even at 4.2 K (limited by the NbN film optical absorption) and dark counts as low as 2x10<sup>-4</sup> Hz. The presented SSPDs were designed to maintain the QE of large-active-area devices, but, unless our earlier SSPDs, hampered by a significant kinetic inductance and a nanosecond response time, they are characterized by a low inductance and GHz counting rates. We have designed, simulated, and tested the structures consisting of several, connected in parallel, meander sections, each having a resistor connected in series. Such new, multi-element geometry led to a significant decrease of the device kinetic inductance without the decrease of its active area and QE. The presented improvement in the SSPD performance makes our detectors most attractive for high-speed quantum communications and quantum cryptography applications.
We have fabricated fiber-coupled superconducting single-photon detectors (SSPDs), designed for quantum-correlationtype
experiments. The SSPDs are nanostructured (~100-nm wide and 4-nm thick) NbN superconducting meandering
stripes, operated in the 2 to 4.2 K temperature range, and known for ultrafast and efficient detection of visible to nearinfrared
photons with almost negligible dark counts. Our latest devices are pigtailed structures with coupling between
the SSPD structure and a single-mode optical fiber achieved using a micromechanical photoresist ring placed directly
over the meander. The above arrangement withstands repetitive thermal cycling between liquid helium and room
temperature, and we can reach the coupling efficiency of up to ~33%. The system quantum efficiency, measured as the
ratio of the photons counted by SSPD to the total number of photons coupled into the fiber, in our early devices was
found to be around 0.3 % and 1% for 1.55 &mgr;m and 0.9 &mgr;m photon wavelengths, respectively. The photon counting rate
exceeded 250 MHz. The receiver with two SSPDs, each individually biased, was placed inside a transport, 60-liter
liquid helium Dewar, assuring uninterrupted operation for over 2 months. Since the receiver's optical and electrical
connections are at room temperature, the set-up is suitable for any applications, where single-photon counting capability
and fast count rates are desired. In our case, it was implemented for photon correlation experiments. The receiver
response time, measured as a second-order photon cross-correlation function, was found to be below 400 ps, with
timing jitter of less than 40 ps.
The solution of the problem of ultrashort pulse diffraction is considered using a method of linear systems theory. The diffraction of the ultrashort pulse from the circular aperture is studied both analytically and in computer simulation. Asymptotic relations for the Fraunhofer diffraction of the monochrome wave obtained with the method under consideration are shown to be equivalent to the well- known results of the conventional approach.