Next generation superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors

Erotokritou, Kleanthis (2019) Next generation superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Single photon detection advanced rapidly in the last decade. The superconducting nanowire single-photon detector (SNSPD) is an emerging technology, which offers low dark count rates, broadband sensitivity from visible to mid-infrared wavelengths and very high quantum efficiency.
All these features are appealing for future emerging applications in remote gas sensing, quantum key distribution and quantum information processing. By enclosing the detector in an optical cavity, tuned to the operating wavelength, the total system detection of the SNSPD is improved. Based on the cavity design, the detector absorption is boosted at the desired experimental wavelength. Devices have been fabricated and tested, in this thesis, with enhanced detection efficiency at near-infrared, infrared and mid-infrared wavelengths. NbTiN detectors fabricated on Ta2O5 / SiO2 distributed Bragg reflectors (DBR) for front-side coupling exhibit a system detection efficiency of ≈ 90% at λ = 940 nm for the best device measured. SNSPDs were also fabricated in NbTiN on metallic mirrors for back-side coupling for 1550 and 2333 nm experimental wavelengths. The first design exhibited a system detection efficiency of ≈ 84.5%, at λ = 1550 nm for the best device measured. The second exhibited low system detection efficiency since the device suffered from unexpectedly high dark count rate mainly due to blackbody radiation at 2.2 K. However, it was possible to measure the timing jitter of this device at 350 mK indicating a FWHM of 84 ps. Another technique to improve the total system detection efficiency of the SNSPD, is by fabricating a hairpin-shaped nanowire atop a single mode waveguide. In this design, photons travel through the waveguide and via evanescent coupling are absorbed in the nanowire. These SNSPD devices have been designed to thread along single mode Si ridge waveguides using a hairpin-shaped nanowire structure, which offers enhanced coupling and absorption efficiency via evanescent coupling. These ultra-thin superconducting MoSi detectors are precisely patterned on top of a single mode Si waveguide (600 nm) with alignment error less than 40 nm. Low temperature electrical and nano-optical characterization was carried out using a two-stage pulse tube (PT) coldhead, using an additional 4He / 3He sorption pump, low vibration characterization of SNSPD devices at 350 mK was carried out. Characterised devices exhibit low dark count rate <5 counts per second and timing jitter of ≈ 83 ps full width half maximum (FWHM) at wavelength (λ) = 1550 nm and at critical current ≈ 30 µA.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: T Technology > T Technology (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Electronics and Nanoscale Engineering
Funder's Name: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Supervisor's Name: Hadfield, Professor Robert
Date of Award: 2019
Depositing User: Mr Kleanthis Erotokritou
Unique ID: glathesis:2019-41108
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2019 08:07
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2020 22:21
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.41108
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