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Waveguide single-photon detectors for integrated quantum photonics

Waveguide single-photon detectors for integrated quantum photonics,A. Fiore,A. Gaggero,J. P. Sprengers,D. Sahin,S. Jahanmiri Nejad,D. Bitauld,J. Beetz

Waveguide single-photon detectors for integrated quantum photonics  
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We report the first waveguide single-photon detectors. They are based on superconducting nanowires patterned on top of GaAs/AlGaAs waveguides and are suitable for monolithic integration with single-photon sources and passive quantum optical networks. The combination of single-photon sources, passive optical circuits and single-photon detectors enables important functionalities in quantum communications, such as quantum repeaters (1) and qubit amplifiers (2), and also forms the basis of all-optical quantum gates (3) and of linear-optics quantum computing (4). However, present implementations are limited to few qubits, due to the large number of optical components required and the corresponding complexity and cost of experimental set-ups. The monolithic integration of quantum photonic components and circuits on a chip is absolutely required to scale implementations of optical quantum information processing to meaningful numbers of qubits. The integration of passive circuits has been demonstrated in the silica- on-silicon platform (5), but an approach to the simultaneous integration of sources, detectors and passive circuitry is still missing. The integration of detectors is particularly challenging, as the complex device structures associated to avalanche photodiodes are not easily compatible with the integration with low-loss waveguides and even less with sources. Here we report a simple approach to the realization of single-photon detectors on optical waveguides in the GaAs/AlGaAs material system. It enables the first demonstration of waveguide single-photon detectors and is fully compatible with the monolithic integration of detectors with single-photon sources (based on InAs quantum dots) and passive optical circuits on a single chip. Our waveguide single-photon detectors (WSPDs) are based on the principle of photon-induced hot-spot creation in ultranarrow superconducting NbN wires, which is at the basis of nanowire single-photon detectors (SSPDs) (6) and can provide ultrahigh sensitivity at telecommunication wavelengths, high counting rates, broad spectral response and high temporal resolution due to low jitter values. For WSPDs, the wires are deposited and patterned on top of a GaAs/AlGaAs ridge waveguide, in order to sense the evanescent field on the surface (Fig. 1). The calculated modal absorption coefficient for the fundamental transverse-electric mode of a 1.85 μm-wide waveguide, in the presence of four 4 nm-thick and 100 nm-wide NbN wires is as high as 450 cm
Published in 2011.
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