Next generation nanostructured superconducting single-photon detectors

Lead Research Organisation: Heriot-Watt University
Department Name: Sch of Engineering and Physical Science

Abstract

Infrared single-photon detectors are a key enabling technology for a host of applications at the frontiers of science, from quantum information processing to remote sensing and new types of medical imaging. Advanced photon-counting applications place exacting demands on detector performance, which conventional detectors are unable to meet. This proposal focuses on a highly promising emerging single-photon detector technology, based on a superconducting nanowire. These detectors offer spectral sensitivity from visible to mid-infrared wavelengths, with picosecond timing resolution and low dark counts. However detector performance is currently hindered by low practical quantum efficiency, small device areas, and low fabrication yields. Next generation detectors are urgently required with near-100% detection efficiency and the ability to resolve the number of photons in a pulse of light. This project is designed to take up this challenge: we aim to create a new generation of high efficiency wavelength-tunable photon-number resolving nanostructured single-photon detectors, employing advanced concepts in nanofabrication and nano-optics. We aim to realise new high efficiency device designs based on optical cavities and nanoantennas, and multi-pixel detector arrays with photon-number resolving capability. This project is a collaboration between two leading UK groups, at the University of Cambridge and Heriot-Watt University, with additional support from the leading international group in this field (MIT, USA). The Cambridge group provide world-class expertise in superconducting thin film growth and device fabrication; the Heriot-Watt group bring unrivalled expertise in nano-optical testing of superconducting single-photon detectors. The development of this new generation of high performance single-photon detectors will affirm the position of the UK at the forefront of single-photon science and applications.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description This project enabled me to advance the development of superconducting nanowire single photon detectors, consolidating an independent research group in the UK. In partnership with Cambridge, we advanced the patterning of nanowire devices and superconducting film technology. We developed world-class capabilty in nano-optical testing. We established new international collaborations, introducing these devices into new application areas.
Exploitation Route This review article written towards the end of the project is a manifesto and reference point for our field worldwide. It now has more than 25000 downloads. It provides a roadmap for next generation device developments and emerging applications. There are a number of successful international startups commercializing this technology (single quantum NL, Scontel russia, Quantum Opus PhotonSpot USA) benefiting from the demand across a range of fields.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Security and Diplomacy

URL http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/0953-2048/25/6/063001
 
Description This project was important in translating an emerging technology (infrared photon counting detectors based on superconducting nanowires) into new scientifc and technological applications. New applications included quantum communications, single photon LIDAR, fibre optic sensing and dosimetry for photodynamic therapy. Key partnerships consolidated through this work were with TU Delft (Netherlands), ID Quantique (Switzerland), Ontario Cancer Institute (Canada), NIST (ISA), NICT (Japan)
First Year Of Impact 2011
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Security and Diplomacy
Impact Types Societal

 
Description EPSRC
Amount £960,579 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/F048041/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2008 
End 09/2012
 
Description EPSRC
Amount £450,135 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/J007544/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2012 
End 01/2017
 
Description EPSRC
Amount £466,965 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/I036273/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2012 
End 05/2016
 
Description European Commission (EC)
Amount £31,570 (GBP)
Funding ID E!6623 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 04/2012 
End 09/2014
 
Description European Commission (EC)
Amount £31,570 (GBP)
Funding ID E!6623 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 06/2012 
End 05/2014
 
Description European Research Council Consolidator Grant
Amount £1,330,336 (GBP)
Funding ID 648604 IRIS 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 05/2015 
End 10/2019
 
Description Impact Acceleration Account Funding (via University of Glasgow) - Market Survey
Amount £19,000 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2015 
End 03/2015
 
Description QUANTIC - the UK quantum technology hub in quantum enhanced imaging
Amount £23,056,154 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/M01326X/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2014 
End 09/2019
 
Description Royal Society of London
Amount £378,481 (GBP)
Funding ID University Research Fellowship (renewal) 
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2011 
End 09/2014
 
Description Royal Society of London
Amount £378,481 (GBP)
Funding ID University Research Fellowship (renewal) 
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2011 
End 09/2014
 
Description United States Air Force (USAF)
Amount £59,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EOARD 
Organisation United States Air Force 
Sector Public
Country United States
Start 10/2011 
End 09/2012
 
Description UK National Quantum Technology Showcase 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Live demonstration of miniaturized cooling platform for superconducting single photon detectors
QE2 conference centre, Westminster, London 3/11/2016
Work completed for the QuantIC quantum technology hub in partnership with STFC/RAL
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://quantic.ac.uk/category/news/