A superconducting nanowire single-photon detector system for single-photon source characterization

C. R. Fitzpatrick, C. M. Natarajan, R. E. Warburton, G. S. Buller, B. Baek, S. Nam, S. Miki, Z. Wang, M. Sasaki, A. G. Sinclair, R. H. Hadfield

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Citation (Scopus)


Single-photon sources and detectors are key enabling technologies for photonics in quantum information science and technology (QIST). QIST applications place high-level demands on the performance of sources and detectors; it is therefore essential that their properties can be characterized accurately. Superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors (SNSPDs) have spectral sensitivity from visible to beyond 2 µm in wavelength, picosecond timing resolution (Jitter <100 ps FWHM) and the capacity to operate ungated with low dark counts (<1 kHz). This facilitates data acquisition at high rates with an excellent signal-to-noise ratio. We report on the construction and characterization of a two-channel SNSPD system. The detectors are mounted in a closed-cycle refrigerator, which eliminates reliance on liquid cryogens. Our specification was to deliver a system with 1% efficiency in both channels at a wavelength of 1310 nm with 1 kHz dark count rate. A full width at half maximum timing jitter of less than 90 ps is achieved in both channels. The system will be used to detect individual photons generated by quantum-optical sources at telecom wavelengths. Examples include single-photon sources based on quantum dots (emitting at 1310 nm). The SNSPD system's spectral sensitivity and timing resolution make it suited to characterization of such sources, and to wider QIST applications. © 2010 Copyright SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvanced Photon Counting Techniques IV
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventAdvanced Photon Counting Techniques IV - Orlando, FL, United States
Duration: 7 Apr 20108 Apr 2010


ConferenceAdvanced Photon Counting Techniques IV
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityOrlando, FL


  • quantum information
  • quantum optics
  • single-photon detector
  • single-photon source
  • superconducting detector


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