Large-area superconducting nanowire single-photon detector with double-stage avalanche structure

Risheng Cheng, Menno Poot, Xiang Guo, Linran Fan, Hong Xing Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We propose a novel design of superconducting nanowire avalanche photodetectors (SNAPs), which combines the advantages of multistage avalanche SNAPs to lower the avalanche current IAV and that of series-SNAPs to reduce the reset time. As proof of principle, we fabricated 800 devices with large detection area (15 μm × 15 μm) and five different designs on a single silicon chip for comparison, which include standard SNSPDs, series-3-SNAPs, and our modified series-SNAPs with double-stage avalanche structure 2∗2-SNAPs, 2∗3-SNAPs, and 3∗3-SNAPs. The former three types of the detectors demonstrate fully saturated device detection efficiencies of ∼20% while the latter two types are latching at larger bias currents. In addition, the IAV of 2∗2-SNAPs is only 64% of the switching current ISW that is lower than series-3-SNAPs (74%) and well below that of 4-SNAPs (84%) reported elsewhere. We also measure that the exponential decay times of the detectors are proportional to 1/n2 due to the lack of external choke inductors. In particular, the decay time of 3∗3-SNAPs is only 0.89 ns compared to the standard SNSPDs' 63.2 ns, showing the potential to attain GHz counting rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7792652
JournalIEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2017


  • Cascade-switch superconducting nanowire detector
  • SNAP
  • superconducting nanowire avalanche photodetector
  • superconducting nanowire single-photon detector

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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