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Published January 23, 2023 | Published
Journal Article Open

Time-walk and jitter correction in SNSPDs at high count rates


Superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors (SNSPDs) are a leading detector type for time correlated single photon counting, especially in the near-infrared. When operated at high count rates, SNSPDs exhibit increased timing jitter caused by internal device properties and features of the RF amplification chain. Variations in RF pulse height and shape lead to variations in the latency of timing measurements. To compensate for this, we demonstrate a calibration method that correlates delays in detection events with the time elapsed between pulses. The increase in jitter at high rates can be largely canceled in software by applying corrections derived from the calibration process. We demonstrate our method with a single-pixel tungsten silicide SNSPD and show it decreases high count rate jitter. The technique is especially effective at removing a long tail that appears in the instrument response function at high count rates. At a count rate of 11.4 MCounts/s, we reduce the full width at 1% maximum level (FW1%M) by 45%. The method, therefore, enables certain quantum communication protocols that are rate-limited by the FW1%M metric to operate almost twice as fast.

Additional Information

© 2023 Author(s). All article content, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Part of the research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) (No. 80 NM0018D0004). Support for this work was provided in part by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Defense Sciences Office (DSO) Invisible Headlights program, NASA SCaN, Alliance for Quantum Technologies' (AQT) Intelligent Quantum Networks and Technologies (INQNET) program, and the Caltech/JPL PDRDF program. A. M. is supported in part by the Brinson Foundation and the Fermilab Quantum Institute. M.S. is in part supported by the Department of Energy under Grant Nos. SC0019219 and SC002376. We are grateful to Si Xie (Caltech/Fermilab) and Cristian Pena (Fermilab) for supporting this work in terms of sharing equipment and facilities. The authors are also grateful to Ioana Craiciu for her attention and help in editing the final manuscript.

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Additional details

August 22, 2023
August 22, 2023