Distributed Nanowire Sensor for Single Photon Imaging

Technology #18503

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Inventors
Professor Karl Berggren
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT
External Link (www.rle.mit.edu)
Qingyuan Zhao
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT
External Link (www.rle.mit.edu)
Managed By
Dave Sossen
MIT Technology Licensing Officer
Patent Protection

Distributed Nanowire Sensor For Single Photon Imaging

US Patent Pending

Distributed Nanowire Sensor For Single Photon Imaging

PCT Patent Application Filed
Publications
Single photon detectors based on superconducting nanowires over large active areas
Applied Physics B: Lasers and Optics, 97 (1): 187-91, Sep. 1, 2009
Superconducting-nanowire single-photon-detector linear array
Applied Physics Letters, 103, 142602, Sep. 30, 2013

Applications

  • Biological imaging
  • Quantum computing
  • Deep space communications

Problem Addressed

The development of a camera with single-photon sensitivity and sub-micrometer spatial resolution has applications in many scientific fields. Although superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors (SNSPDs) have superior performance to other discrete detectors, integrating multiple SNSPDs into an array for single-photon imaging is difficult, because of the complexity of signal processing and the cooling requirements of cryogenic designs.

Technology

The invention is a new architecture for a single superconducting nanowire, which uses hundreds of pixels to spatially resolve single photons. Using a simple readout method with only two radio frequency output lines and conventional room-temperature electronics, the design is a detector that is sensitive enough to detect a single photo with high quantum efficiency, low dark counts and low timing jitter. The resulting nanowire is easily shapeable for either a large active area for astronomical observation or sub-micrometer spatial resolution for near-field imaging. The number of distinguishable pixels is only limited by the total length of the nanowire and the timing accuracy for reading out the electrical pulses.

Advantages

  • High quantum efficiency, low dark counts, and low timing jitter single photon detector
  • Simple readout method requires only two radio frequency output lines and conventional room-temperature electronics
  • Nanowire easily shapeable for either a large active area for astronomical observation or sub-micrometer spatial resolution for near-field imaging