In this paper several designs to maximize the absorption efficiency of superconducting-nanowire single-photon detectors are investigated. Using a simple optical cavity consisting of a gold mirror and a SiO2 layer, the absorption efficiency can be boosted to over 97%: this result is confirmed experimentally by the realization of an NbTiN-based detector having an overall system detection efficiency of 85% at 1.31 μm. Calculations show that by sandwiching the nanowire between two dielectric Bragg reflectors, unity absorption (>99.9%) could be reached at the peak wavelength for optimized structures. To achieve broadband high efficiency, a different approach is considered: a waveguide-coupled detector. The calculations performed in this work show that, by correctly dimensioning the waveguide and the nanowire, polarization-insensitive detectors absorbing more than 95% of the injected photons over a wavelength range of several hundred nm can be designed. We propose a detector design making use of GaN/AlN waveguides, since these materials allow lattice-matched epitaxial deposition of Nb(Ti)N films and are transparent on a very wide wavelength range.
Bibliographical noteAccepted Author Manuscript
- single-photon detectors
- superconducting-nanowire detectors