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Proceedings Paper

Ultrafast superconducting single-photon detectors for infrared wavelength quantum communications
Author(s): Aleksandr A. Verevkin; Aaron Pearlman; Wojtek Slysz; Jin Zhang; Roman Sobolewski; Galina Chulkova; Oleg Okunev; Pavel Kouminov; Vladimir Drakinskij; Konstantin Smirnov; Natalia Kaurova; Boris Voronov; Gregory Gol'tsman; Marc Currie
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Paper Abstract

We have developed a new class of superconducting single-photon detectors (SSPDs) for ultrafast counting of infrared (IR) photons for secure quantum communications. The devices are operated on the quantum detection mechanism, based on the photon-induced hotspot formation and subsequent appearance of a transient resistive barrier across an ultrathin and submicron-wide superconducting stripe. The detectors are fabricated from 3.5-nm-thick NbN films and they operate at 4.2 K inside a closed-cycle refrigerator or liquid helium cryostat. Various continuous and pulsed laser sources have been used in our experiments, enabling us to determine the detector experimental quantum efficiency (QE) in the photon-counting mode, response time, time jitter, and dark counts. Our 3.5-nm-thick SSPDs reached QE above 15% for visible light photons and 5% at 1.3 - 1.5 μm infrared range. The measured real-time counting rate was above 2 GHz and was limited by the read-out electronics (intrinsic response time is <30 ps). The measured jitter was <18 ps, and the dark counting rate was <0.01 per second. The measured noise equivalent power (NEP) is 2 x 10-18 W/Hz1/2 at λ = 1.3 μm. In near-infrared range, in terms of the counting rate, jitter, dark counts, and overall sensitivity, the NbN SSPDs significantly outperform their semiconductor counterparts. An ultrafast quantum cryptography communication technology based on SSPDs is proposed and discussed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 4 August 2003
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 5105, Quantum Information and Computation, (4 August 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.501197
Show Author Affiliations
Aleksandr A. Verevkin, Univ. of Rochester (United States)
Aaron Pearlman, Univ. of Rochester (United States)
Wojtek Slysz, Univ. of Rochester (United States)
Jin Zhang, Univ. of Rochester (United States)
Roman Sobolewski, Univ. of Rochester (United States)
Galina Chulkova, Moscow State Pedagogical Univ. (Russia)
Oleg Okunev, Moscow State Pedagogical Univ. (Russia)
Pavel Kouminov, Moscow State Pedagogical Univ. (Russia)
Vladimir Drakinskij, Moscow State Pedagogical Univ. (Russia)
Konstantin Smirnov, Moscow State Pedagogical Univ. (Russia)
Natalia Kaurova, Moscow State Pedagogical Univ. (Russia)
Boris Voronov, Moscow State Pedagogical Univ. (Russia)
Gregory Gol'tsman, Moscow State Pedagogical Univ. (Russia)
Marc Currie, Naval Research Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5105:
Quantum Information and Computation
Eric Donkor; Andrew R. Pirich; Howard E. Brandt, Editor(s)

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