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Probabilistic vortex crossing criterion for superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors

Jahani, Saman and Yang, Li-Ping and Tepole, Adrián Buganza and Bardin, Joseph C. and Tang, Hong X. and Jacob, Zubin (2020) Probabilistic vortex crossing criterion for superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors. Journal of Applied Physics, 127 (14). Art. No. 143101. ISSN 0021-8979.

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Superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors have emerged as a promising technology for quantum metrology from the mid-infrared to ultraviolet frequencies. Despite recent experimental successes, a predictive model to describe the detection event in these detectors is needed to optimize the detection metrics. Here, we propose a probabilistic criterion for single-photon detection based on single-vortex (flux quanta) crossing the width of the nanowire. Our model makes a connection between the dark counts and photon counts near the detection threshold. The finite-difference calculations demonstrate that a change in the bias current distribution as a result of the photon absorption significantly increases the probability of single-vortex crossing even if the vortex potential barrier has not vanished completely. We estimate the instrument response function and show that the timing uncertainty of this vortex tunneling process corresponds to a fundamental limit in timing jitter of the click event. We demonstrate a trade-space between this intrinsic (quantum) timing jitter, quantum efficiency, and dark count rate in TaN, WSi, and NbN superconducting nanowires at different experimental conditions. Our detection model can also explain the experimental observation of exponential decrease in the quantum efficiency of SNSPDs at lower energies. This leads to a pulse-width dependency in the quantum efficiency, and it can be further used as an experimental test to compare across different detection models.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Jahani, Saman0000-0003-4831-2276
Yang, Li-Ping0000-0002-7266-4901
Bardin, Joseph C.0000-0002-6523-6730
Tang, Hong X.0000-0001-5374-2137
Jacob, Zubin0000-0002-5602-1412
Additional Information:© 2020 Published under license by AIP Publishing. Submitted: 22 October 2019; Accepted: 21 March 2020; Published Online: 9 April 2020. We thank Sean Molesky, Joseph Maciejko, Rudro Biswajs, and Bhaskaran Muralidharan for discussions. This work is supported by DARPA DETECT ARO Award No. W911NF-18-1-0074.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)W911NF-18-1-0074
Issue or Number:14
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200430-134502526
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:102936
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:30 Apr 2020 20:55
Last Modified:30 Apr 2020 20:55

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