Nanotechnology Now







Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Key Ingredient: Change in Material Boosts Prospects of Ultrafast Single-photon Detector

Colorized micrograph of an ultrafast single-photon detector made of superconducting nanowires. NIST researchers use electron beam lithography to pattern the nanowires (vertical lines) on a thin film of tungsten-silicon alloy, which produces more reliable signals than the niobium nitride material used previously.
Credit: Baek/NIST
Colorized micrograph of an ultrafast single-photon detector made of superconducting nanowires. NIST researchers use electron beam lithography to pattern the nanowires (vertical lines) on a thin film of tungsten-silicon alloy, which produces more reliable signals than the niobium nitride material used previously.

Credit: Baek/NIST

Abstract:
By swapping one superconducting material for another, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have found a practical way to boost the efficiency of the world's fastest single-photon detector, while also extending light sensitivity to longer wavelengths. The new tungsten-silicon alloy could make the ultrafast detectors more practical for use in quantum communications and computing systems, experiments testing the nature of reality, and emerging applications such as remote sensing.

Key Ingredient: Change in Material Boosts Prospects of Ultrafast Single-photon Detector

Boulder, CO | Posted on July 2nd, 2011

The detector, made of superconducting nanowires, is one of several sensor designs developed or used at NIST to register individual photons (particles of light). The original nanowire detector, invented in Russia, uses wires made of niobium nitride and has a detection or quantum efficiency—ability to generate an electrical signal for each arriving photon—of less than 10 percent in its simplest, most compact model. NIST's tungsten-silicon alloy version has an efficiency of 19 to 40 percent over a broad wavelength range of 1280 to 1650 nanometers, including bands used in telecommunications.* The limitations are due mainly to imperfect photon absorption, suggesting that, with further design improvements, detector efficiency could approach 100 percent reliably, researchers say.

Superconducting nanowire detectors have many advantages. They are very fast, able to count nearly a billion photons per second, and they operate over a large range of wavelengths, have low dark (false) counts, and produce strong signals, especially at telecom wavelengths. The detectors produce a signal when a photon breaks apart some of the electron pairs that carry current in the superconducting state, where the material has zero resistance. If the nanowires are narrow enough and the DC current across the device is very close to the transition between ordinary and super conductance, a resistive band temporarily forms across each wire, resulting in a measurable voltage pulse.

Niobium nitride is difficult to make into nanowires that are narrow, long, and sensitive enough to work well. NIST researchers selected the tungsten-silicon alloy mainly because it has higher energy sensitivity, resulting in more reliable signals. A photon breaks more electron pairs in the tungsten-silicon alloy than in niobium nitride. The tungsten alloy also has a more uniform and less granular internal structure, making the nanowires more reliably sensitive throughout. As a result of the higher energy sensitivity, tungsten-silicon nanowires can have larger dimensions (150 nanometers wide versus 100 nanometers or less for niobium nitride), which enlarges the detectors' functional areas to more easily capture all photons.

The NIST team now hopes to raise the efficiency of tungsten alloy detectors by embedding them in optical cavities, which trap light for extremely high absorption. High efficiency may enable the use of nanowire detectors in demanding applications such as linear optical quantum computing, which encodes information in single photons. An equally intriguing application may be an experiment to test quantum mechanics—the so-called "loophole-free Bell test." This test of what Einstein called "spooky action at a distance" depends critically on having a nearly 100-percent efficient photon detector. Tungsten-silicon detectors also are sensitive to longer wavelengths of light, in the mid-infrared range, which could be useful for applications such as laser-based remote sensing of trace gases.

* B. Baek, A.E. Lita, V. Verma and S.W. Nam. Superconducting a-WxSi1-x nanowire single-photon detector with saturated internal quantum efficiency from visible to 1850 nm. Applied Physics Letters 98, 251105. Published online June 21, 2011.

####

About National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Laura Ost
303-497-4880

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

Laboratories

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

ORNL-led team demonstrates desalination with nanoporous graphene membrane March 25th, 2015

Los Alamos Offers New Insights Into Radiation Damage Evolution: TUnderstanding defects in materials aids in performance predictions March 18th, 2015

Graphene 'gateway' discovery opens possibilities for improved energy technologies March 18th, 2015

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

SUNY Poly CNSE and Title Sponsor SEFCU Name Capital Region Teams Advancing to the Final Round of the 2015 New York Business Plan Competition March 30th, 2015

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

Nanoscale worms provide new route to nano-necklace structures March 29th, 2015

Designer's toolkit for dynamic DNA nanomachines: Arm-waving nanorobot signals new flexibility in DNA origami March 27th, 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

Sensors

UW scientists build a nanolaser using a single atomic sheet March 24th, 2015

Iranian Researchers Present Model to Determine Dynamic Behavior of Nanostructures March 24th, 2015

Nanodevice Invented in Iran to Detect Hydrogen Sulfide in Oil, Gas Industry March 20th, 2015

LamdaGen Corporation Launches Taiwan Diagnostic Subsidiary March 19th, 2015

Discoveries

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

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

Tools

'Atomic chicken-wire' is key to faster DNA sequencing March 30th, 2015

LAMDAMAP 2015 hosted by the University March 26th, 2015

FEI Technology Award of the German Neuroscience Society Goes to Benjamin Judkewitz of the University of Berlin: Bi-annual award honors excellence in brain research during the German Neuroscience Society’s Annual Meeting, held 18-21 March 2015 March 26th, 2015

Square ice filling for a graphene sandwich March 26th, 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