High Speed Detection of Single Photons with Superconducting Nanowire Detectors

Abstract: Superconducting Nanowires Single Photon Detectors (SNSPDs) are an enabling technology for technologies requiring detection of faint pulses of light with excellent timing precision. This includes space-to-ground optical communication, quantum communication, quantum information and photon counting LIDAR. As a result of R&D in the past two decades in our group as well as around the world, SNSPD detectors with high detection efficiency in the UV to near-IR, low dark count rates, high timing resolution, and short dead times have been demonstrated. The next frontier is creating detectors that excel in all of these metrics at the same time.

In this seminar I will present the PEACOQ, an SNSPD detector developed at JPL that can to measure single 1550 nm photons at giga-count per second rates with high efficiency and low timing jitter. The PEACOQ is made up of a linear array of 32 straight superconducting niobium nitride nanowires that spans a single telecom optical fiber mode. The detector operates in a cryostat at a temperature of 0.9 K. It has a peak efficiency of 78% and measures at count rates of up to 1.5 Gcps (3 dB point) with a timing jitter of less than 100 ps FWHM. These metrics are important for high-count-rate single-photon applications such as quantum communication.

I will describe the design, fabrication and testing of the detector, focusing on the choice of materials, detector geometry, optical coupling and readout electronics. I will also present a time-walk correction scheme recently developed in our group that enables the PEACOQ’s high timing resolution at high count rates.

About the speaker: Ioana Craiciu is a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Microdevices and Sensor Systems Section at JPL. She obtained an undergraduate degree in Nanotechnology Engineering from the University of Waterloo, followed by a PhD in Applied Physics from Caltech. In her PhD thesis work, she built quantum memories for light using nanostructured resonators coupled to ensembles of rare earth ions. She joined JPL in 2020 as part of the Superconducting and Quantum Devices group, where she is working on optimizing superconducting nanowire single photon detectors for applications such as optical quantum communication.

WebEx Info: https://jpl.webex.com/jpl/j.php?MTID=m23723cfd0d8cd7cd67fe59c3ed16983d
Meeting number (access code): 2763 181 3817
Meeting password: q6R42HPAXhM

01/12/2023 - 12:00
Dr. Ioana Craiciu
180-101 & WebEx