Eur. Phys. J. AP
Volume 21, Number 3, March 2003
|Page(s)||171 - 178|
|Section||Semiconductors and Devices|
|Published online||27 February 2003|
Ultimate performance of a superconducting quantum detector
DLR Institute of Space Sensor Technology and Planetary Exploration, Rutherfordstr. 2, 12489 Berlin, Germany
2 Institute of Thin Films and Interfaces, FZ Jülich GmbH, 52425 Jülich, Germany
3 Physical Department, State Pedagogical University, M.Pirogovskaya 29, 119891 Moscow, Russia
Corresponding author: Alexei.Semenov@dlr.de
Revised: 14 November 2002
Accepted: 22 November 2002
Published online: 27 February 2003
We analyze the ultimate performance of a superconducting quantum detector in order to meet requirements for applications in near-infrared astronomy and X-ray spectroscopy. The detector exploits a combined detection mechanism, in which avalanche quasiparticle multiplication and the supercurrent jointly produce a voltage response to a single absorbed photon via successive formation of a photon-induced and a current-induced normal hotspot in a narrow superconducting strip. The response time of the detector should increase with the photon energy providing energy resolution. Depending on the superconducting material and operation conditions, the cut-off wavelength for the single-photon detection regime varies from infrared waves to visible light. We simulated the performance of the background-limited infrared direct detector and X-ray photon counter utilizing the above mechanism. Low dark count rate and intrinsic low-frequency cut-off allow for realizing a background limited noise equivalent power of 10−20 W Hz−1/2 for a far-infrared direct detector exposed to 4-K background radiation. At low temperatures, the intrinsic response time of the counter is rather determined by diffusion of nonequilibrium electrons than by the rate of energy transfer to phonons. Therefore, thermal fluctuations do not hamper energy resolution of the X-ray photon counter that should be better than 10−3 for 6-keV photons. Comparison of new data obtained with a Nb based detector and previously reported results on NbN quantum detectors support our estimates of ultimate detector performance.
PACS: 85.25.Am – Superconducting device characterization, design, and modeling / 74.40.+k – Fluctuations (noise, chaos, nonequilibrium superconductivity, localization, etc.)
© EDP Sciences, 2003
Current usage metrics show cumulative count of Article Views (full-text article views including HTML views, PDF and ePub downloads, according to the available data) and Abstracts Views on Vision4Press platform.
Data correspond to usage on the plateform after 2015. The current usage metrics is available 48-96 hours after online publication and is updated daily on week days.
Initial download of the metrics may take a while.