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Opt Express. 2005 Dec 26;13(26):10846-53.

Single photon source characterization with a superconducting single photon detector.


Superconducting single photon detectors (SSPD) based on nanopatterned niobium nitride wires offer single photon counting at fast rates, low jitter, and low dark counts, from visible wavelengths well into the infrared. We demonstrate the first use of an SSPD, packaged in a commercial cryocooler, for single photon source characterization. The source is an optically pumped, microcavity-coupled InGaAs quantum dot, emitting single photons at 902 nm. The SSPD replaces the second silicon Avalanche Photodiode (APD) in a Hanbury-Brown Twiss interferometer measurement of the source second-order correlation function, g(2)( ?). The detection efficiency of the superconducting detector system is >2 % (coupling losses included). The SSPD system electronics jitter is 170 ps, versus 550 ps for the APD unit, allowing the source spontaneous emission lifetime to be measured with improved resolution.

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