Nanotechnology Now







Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > NIST Detector Counts Photons With 99 Percent Efficiency

NIST physicist Sae Woo Nam works with refrigeration equipment used to cool photon detectors to nearly absolute zero. His team’s efforts have created devices that can detect single photons with 99 percent efficiency. Credit: NIST
NIST physicist Sae Woo Nam works with refrigeration equipment used to cool photon detectors to nearly absolute zero. His team’s efforts have created devices that can detect single photons with 99 percent efficiency. Credit: NIST

Abstract:
Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed* the world's most efficient single photon detector, which is able to count individual particles of light traveling through fiber optic cables with roughly 99 percent efficiency. The team's efforts could bring improvements to secure electronic communication, advanced quantum computation and the measurement of optical power.

NIST Detector Counts Photons With 99 Percent Efficiency

Gaithersburg, MD | Posted on April 17th, 2010

Using essentially the same technology that permitted them to achieve 88 percent detection efficiency five years ago,** the team has enhanced its ability to detect photons largely by improving the alignment of the detector and the optical fibers that guide photons into it. The basic principle of the detector is to use a superconductor as an ultra-sensitive thermometer. Each individual photon hitting the detector raises the temperature—and increases electrical resistance—by a minute amount, which the instrument registers as the presence of a photon.

According to team member Sae Woo Nam, the advantage of this type of single photon detector is that the new detector design not only measures lower levels of light than have ever been possible, but does so with great accuracy.

"When these detectors indicate they've spotted a photon, they're trustworthy. They don't give false positives," says Nam, a physicist with NIST's Optoelectronics division. "Other types of detectors have really high gain so they can measure a single photon, but their noise levels are such that occasionally a noise glitch is mistakenly identified as a photon. This causes an error in the measurement. Reducing these errors is really important for those who are doing calculations or communications."

The ability to count individual photons is valuable to designers of certain types of quantum computers as well as scientists engaged in quantum optical experiments, which concern exotic states of light that cannot be described by classical physics. But one of the most promising potential applications of a high-efficiency photon detector is a way to secure long-distance data transmission against unwanted interception. A detector that could recognize that a photon forming part of a transmission was missing would be a substantial defense against information theft.

The team has optimized the detection for 810 nanometers—an infrared wavelength—and it still has high efficiency at other wavelengths that are interesting for fiber optic communications, as well as the quantum optics community. Ironically, the detector is so efficient that it outstrips current technology's ability to determine its precise efficiency.

"We can't be sure from direct measurement that we've achieved 99 percent efficiency because the metrology is not in place to determine how close we are—there's no well-established technique," Nam says. "What is great about our latest progress is that we measure nearly the same detection efficiency for every device we build, package and test. It's the reproducibility that gives us confidence."

The team is currently working to develop evaluation techniques that can measure up to the detector's abilities, and Nam says the team's creation could also help evaluate other light-gathering devices.

"NIST offers a standardized service for measuring the efficiency of photodetectors and optical power meters," he says. "We're trying to develop a calibration technique that extends to ultra-low levels of light. It should be valuable for anyone looking at single photons."

* A.E. Lita, B. Calkins, L.A. Pellouchoud, A.J. Miller and S. Nam. Superconducting transition-edge sensors optimized for high-efficiency photon-number resolving detectors. Presented at the SPIE Symposium on SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing, Orlando World Center Marriott Resort and Convention Center, Crystal J1 Ballroom, 3 p.m. April 7, 2010.

####

About NIST
From automated teller machines and atomic clocks to mammograms and semiconductors, innumerable products and services rely in some way on technology, measurement, and standards provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Founded in 1901, NIST is a non-regulatory federal agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce. NIST's mission is to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Media Contact
Chad Boutin

(301) 975-4261

Copyright © NIST

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Roll up your screen and stow it away? Tel Aviv University researchers develop molecular backbone of super-slim, bendable digital displays March 30th, 2015

Princess Margaret scientists convert microbubbles to nanoparticles: Harnessing light to advance tumor imaging, provide platform for targeted treatment March 30th, 2015

Wrapping carbon nanotubes in polymers enhances their performance: Scientists at Japan's Kyushu University say polymer-wrapped carbon nanotubes hold much promise in biotechnology and energy applications March 30th, 2015

Tokyo Institute of Technology research: Catalyst redefines rate limitations in ammonia production March 30th, 2015

Possible Futures

Nanotechnology in Medical Devices Market is expected to reach $8.5 Billion by 2019 March 25th, 2015

Nanotechnology Enabled Drug Delivery to Influence Future Diagnosis and Treatments of Diseases March 21st, 2015

Nanocomposites Market Growth, Industry Outlook To 2020 by Grand View Research, Inc. March 21st, 2015

Nanotechnology Drug Delivery Market in the US 2012-2016 : Latest Report Available by Radiant Insights, Inc March 16th, 2015

Quantum Computing

Next important step toward quantum computer: Scientists at the University of Bonn have succeeded in linking 2 different quantum systems March 30th, 2015

A first glimpse inside a macroscopic quantum state March 28th, 2015

Quantum compute this -- WSU mathematicians build code to take on toughest of cyber attacks: Revamped knapsack code offers online security for the future March 26th, 2015

Building shape inspires new material discovery March 24th, 2015

Announcements

Princess Margaret scientists convert microbubbles to nanoparticles: Harnessing light to advance tumor imaging, provide platform for targeted treatment March 30th, 2015

Wrapping carbon nanotubes in polymers enhances their performance: Scientists at Japan's Kyushu University say polymer-wrapped carbon nanotubes hold much promise in biotechnology and energy applications March 30th, 2015

Tokyo Institute of Technology research: Catalyst redefines rate limitations in ammonia production March 30th, 2015

Next important step toward quantum computer: Scientists at the University of Bonn have succeeded in linking 2 different quantum systems March 30th, 2015

Photonics/Optics/Lasers

Next important step toward quantum computer: Scientists at the University of Bonn have succeeded in linking 2 different quantum systems March 30th, 2015

Solving molybdenum disulfide's 'thin' problem: Research team increases material's light emission by twelve times March 29th, 2015

A first glimpse inside a macroscopic quantum state March 28th, 2015

Chemists make new silicon-based nanomaterials March 27th, 2015

Quantum nanoscience

Using magnetic fields to understand high-temperature superconductivity: Los Alamos explores experimental path to potential 'next theory of superconductivity' March 27th, 2015

Thousands of atoms entangled with a single photon: Result could make atomic clocks more accurate March 26th, 2015

Bar-Ilan U. researchers identify 'tipping point' between quantum and classical worlds: Study sheds new light on 'spooky' quantum optics March 24th, 2015

Nanospheres cooled with light to explore the limits of quantum physics March 17th, 2015

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More










ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2015 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE