We report on the development and use of a high heralding-efficiency, single-mode-fiber coupled telecom-band source of entangled photons for quantum technology applications. The source development efforts consisted of theoretical and experimental efforts and we demonstrated a correlated-mode coupling efficiency of 97% ± 2%, the highest efficiency yet achieved for this type of system. We then incorporated these beneficial source development techniques in a Sagnac configured telecom-band entangled photon source that generates photon pairs entangled in both time/energy and polarization degrees of freedom. We made use of these highly desirable entangled states to investigate several promising quantum technologies.
Superconducting circuits comprising SNSPDs placed in parallel—superconducting nanowire avalanche photodetectors, or SNAPs—have previously been demonstrated to improve the output signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) by increasing the critical current. In this work, we employ a 2-SNAP superconducting circuit with narrow (40 nm) niobium nitride (NbN) nanowires to improve the system detection efficiency to near-IR photons while maintaining high SNR. Additionally, while previous 2-SNAP demonstrations have added external choke inductance to stabilize the avalanching photocurrent, we show that the external inductance can be entirely folded into the active area by cascading 2-SNAP devices in series to produce a greatly increased active area. We fabricated series-2-SNAP (s2-SNAP) circuits with a nanowire length of 20 μm with cascades of 2-SNAPs providing the choke inductance necessary for SNAP operation. We observed that (1) the detection efficiency saturated at high bias currents, and (2) the 40 nm 2-SNAP circuit critical current was approximately twice that for a 40 nm non-SNAP configuration.