Superconducting Single Photon Detectors

Eric Dauler
MIT Lincoln Laboratory
Optical Communications Technology

Superconducting single photon detectors offer a combination of performance parameters desirable for quantum communication as well as other applications. Specifically, various superconducting detector technologies can offer very high system detection efficiencies (up to 98% demonstrated), blackbody-limited noise count rates, high speed (suitable for >10 GHz clock rates) and photon number resolution. This performance has allowed superconducting single photon detectors to be utilized in a number of record-breaking quantum communication experiments. The detector technology, performance and select experimental achievements will be described for two different technologies: transition edge sensors (TES) and superconducting nanowire single photon detectors (SNSPD).

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