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Opt Express. 2011 Sep 12;19(19):18593-601. doi: 10.1364/OE.19.018593.

Demonstration of digital readout circuit for superconducting nanowire single photon detector.

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Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of California at Berkeley, USA.


We demonstrate the transfer of single photon triggered electrical pulses from a superconducting nanowire single photon detector (SNSPD) to a single flux quantum (SFQ) pulse. We describe design and test of a digital SFQ based SNSPD readout circuit and demonstrate its correct operation. Both circuits (SNSPD and SFQ) operate under the same cryogenic conditions and are directly connected by wire bonds. A future integration of the present multi-chip configuration seems feasible because both fabrication process and materials are very similar. In contrast to commonly used semiconductor amplifiers, SFQ circuits combine very low power dissipation (a few microwatts) with very high operation speed, thus enabling count-rates of several gigahertz. The SFQ interface circuit simplifies the SNSPD readout and enables large numbers of detectors for future compact multi-pixel systems with single photon counting resolution. The demonstrated circuit has great potential for scaling the present interface solution to 1,000 detectors by using a single SFQ chip.


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