Superconducting niobium nanowire single photon detectors

A. J. Annunziata, A. Frydman, M. O. Reese, L. Frunzio, M. Rooks, D. E. Prober

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

9 Scopus citations


We have fabricated and tested single photon detectors based on a current biased superconducting niobium nanowire patterned into a meander. The detectors are fabricated from high quality, ultra high vacuum sputtered niobium thin films on a sapphire substrate. For detection of single optical photons, we show that the superconductor's intrinsic kinetic inductance does not limit the reset time of the detector, which is ≈ 2 nanoseconds, in contrast to the longer reset times seen in niobium nitride detectors of similar size and geometry. We also describe a readout scheme for photon counting that is unique to Nb due to its lower resistivity. These detectors have applications in imaging of infrared photoemission from CMOS logic circuits as well as in optical communications and quantum information processing.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvanced Photon Counting Techniques
StatePublished - 2006
EventAdvanced Photon Counting Techniques - Boston, MA, United States
Duration: 1 Oct 20063 Oct 2006

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


ConferenceAdvanced Photon Counting Techniques
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBoston, MA


  • Kinetic inductance
  • Nanowire meander
  • Niobium
  • Reset time
  • Superconducting single photon detector


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