Superconducting nanowire photon-number-resolving detector at telecommunication wavelengths

Aleksander Divochiy, Francesco Marsili, David Bitauld, Alessandro Gaggero, Roberto Leoni, Francesco Mattioli, Alexander Korneev, Vitaliy Seleznev, Nataliya Kaurova, Olga Minaeva, Gregory Gol'tsman, Konstantinos G. Lagoudakis, Moushab Benkhaoul, Francis Levy, Andrea Fiore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

332 Citations (Scopus)


Optical-to-electrical conversion, which is the basis of the operation of optical detectors, can be linear or nonlinear. When high sensitivities are needed, single-photon detectors are used, which operate in a strongly nonlinear mode, their response being independent of the number of detected photons. However, photon-number-resolving detectors are needed, particularly in quantum optics, where n-photon states are routinely produced. In quantum communication and quantum information processing, the photon-number-resolving functionality is key to many protocols, such as the implementation of quantum repeaters1 and linear-optics quantum computing2. A linear detector with single-photon sensitivity can also be used for measuring a temporal waveform at extremely low light levels, such as in long-distance optical communications, fluorescence spectroscopy and optical time-domain reflectometry. We demonstrate here a photon-number-resolving detector based on parallel superconducting nanowires and capable of counting up to four photons at telecommunication wavelengths, with an ultralow dark count rate and high counting frequency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302-306
Number of pages5
JournalNature Photonics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2008


  • nanowire
  • superconducting
  • telecommunication wavelengths


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