Superconducting Nanowires for eV-scale Particle Detection
Abstract: In this talk I will introduce the technology of superconducting particle detectors for eV-level sensitivity in the detection of several major particle types (e.g., alpha, beta, gamma, X-ray, neutrons, WIMPs) with emphasis on recent developments in nanowire detectors for optical/IR/UV photon counting. These so-called superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors (SNSPDs) have enabled new scientific measurements and secure communication systems by significantly improving the detection of near-infrared photons, a band that is traditionally problematic for semiconductor- and photomultiplier-based detectors. State-of-the-art devices can achieve >90% near-infrared efficiency, 25-ns dead times, <50-ps jitter, and near-zero dark count rates. I will include aspects of detector design, fabrication, and operation. I will also present a brief history of Quantum Opus and how we are working to bring SNSPD technology to researchers through our present commercial systems and new products expected as a result of recent DARPA-sponsored efforts to build a "desktop cryostat" capable of running superconducting devices in a compact, low-power system. I will conclude with some other novel superconducting technologies that may benefit from such a compact cryogenic system.
Bio: Aaron J. Miller has been working in the field of high-performance superconducting detectors for 20 years. He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2001, worked at NIST (Boulder, CO) through 2005, and was a professor at Albion College until 2015. He founded Quantum Opus, LLC in 2013 to commercialize SNSPD systems.