Liquid-nitrogen cooled, free-running single-photon sensitive detector at telecommunication wavelengths
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The measurement of light characteristics at the single- and few photon level plays a key role in many quantum optics applications. Often photodetection is preceded with the transmission of quantum light over long distances in optical fibers with their low loss window near 1550 nm. Nonetheless, the detection of the photonic states at telecommunication wavelengths via avalanche photodetectors has long been facing severe restrictions. Only recently, demonstrations of the first free-running detector techniques in the telecommunication band have lifted the demand of synchronizing the signal with the detector. Moreover, moderate cooling is required to gain single-photon sensitivity with these detectors. Here, we implement a liquid-nitrogen cooled negative-feedback avalanche diode (NFAD) at telecommunication wavelengths and investigate the properties of this highly flexible, free-running single-photon sensitive detector. Our realization of cooling provides a large range of stable operating temperatures and has advantages over the relatively bulky commercial refrigerators that have been used before. We determine the region of NFAD working parameters most suitable for single-photon sensitive detection enabling a direct plug-in of our detector to a true photon-counting task.
KeywordsNoise Equivalent Power Dark Count Telecommunication Wavelength Dark Count Rate Relative Spectral Sensitivity
We thank Henning Weier (qutools) the support with discriminator boards required for operating our NFADs. Additionally, we thank Armin Sailer and Gerhard Hendl for helping with the mechanical and electrical construction of the detector and Raimund Ricken for the assistance with the waveguide fabrication. This work was supported in part by the European Research Council (ERC) through project EnSeNa (257531) and the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) through project no. I-2065-N27.