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Nano Lett. 2012 Sep 12;12(9):4799-804. doi: 10.1021/nl302245n. Epub 2012 Aug 20.

Efficient single photon detection from 500 nm to 5 μm wavelength.

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  • 1Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, United States.


We report on superconducting nanowire single photon detectors (SNSPDs) based on 30 nm wide nanowires with detection efficiency η ∼ 2.6-5.5% in the wavelength range λ = 0.5-5 μm. We compared the sensitivity of 30 nm wide SNSPDs with the sensitivity of SNSPDs based on wider (85 and 50 nm wide) nanowires for λ = 0.5-5 μm. The detection efficiency of the detectors based on the wider nanowires became negligible at shorter wavelengths than the 30 nm wide SNSPDs. Our 30 nm wide SNSPDs showed 2 orders of magnitude higher detection efficiency (η ∼ 2%) up to longer wavelength (λ = 5 μm) than previously reported. On the basis of our simulations, we expect that by changing the optical coupling scheme and by integrating the detectors in an optical cavity, the detection efficiency of our detectors could be increased by a factor of ∼6.

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