A Dutch SME is specialized in the development and production of single photon detectors.
Operation principle of the photon detector:
The superconducting nanowire single photon detector (SNSPD) is constituted by a thin film of superconducting material shaped into a meandering nanowire through nanofabrication processes. This pattern enables to cover a wide surface area, collecting the whole output of an optical fibre, while constituting a single path for the current. The detectors are operated at 2.5 Kelvin and a constant current below the critical current of the superconductor is applied to the device. The nanoscale cross section gives the photon detectors extremely high sensitivity upon absorption of just a single photon.
Once a single photon is absorbed in the meandering nanowire, superconductivity is locally broken. As a result, the current is directed towards the amplification electronics and creates a voltage pulse. After the photon is absorbed, superconductivity recovers in the nanowire within a short time and the SNSPD is ready to detect the next photon.
Photon detection with high time resolution:
In applications such as lifetime measurement of photoluminescence and photon correlation measurement, high time resolution of photon detectors is of great importance. The time resolution of single photon detectors is characterized by the full width at half maximum of the variation in the temporal delay from the absorption of a photon to the generation of an output electrical pulse, which is defined as the timing jitter.
The photon detectors of the Dutch SME have demonstrated the lowest timing jitter on the market. This is realized by cryogenic amplification. A cryogenic amplifier enclosed in a housing and mounted to the cryostat enables the SNSPDs to reach the highest signal-to-noise ratio and thus the optimal timing jitter.
A typical detector based on SNSPD with a cryogenic amplifier reaches less than 15 picoseconds timing jitter.
Important market segments are scientific and original equipment manufacturing (OEM) markets :
• Quantum information technology (inclusive quantum communication, quantum key distribution and quantum cryptography).
• Sensor (Light detection and ranging - LIDAR) and integrated circuit testing.
• Infrared time-resolved spectroscopy.
• (Bio-)medical imaging (single molecule fluorescence spectroscopy, optical coherence tomography, flow cytometry).
The Dutch SME is interested in commercial agreements with technical assistance with researchers and original equipment manufacturers needing single photon detection.
To come to the single photon detection the Dutch SME will support the researcher or manufacturer with co-development and production of dedicated photon detectors for their specific application.
It is desired that the partner is active in the application area and has to bring in their specific wishes and requirements.