Universal Model for the Turn-On Dynamics of Superconducting Nanowire Single-Photon Detectors

TitleUniversal Model for the Turn-On Dynamics of Superconducting Nanowire Single-Photon Detectors
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsKL Nicolich, C Cahall, NT Islam, GP Lafyatis, J Kim, AJ Miller, and DJ Gauthier
JournalPhysical Review Applied
Date Published09/2019

We describe an electrothermal model for the turn-on dynamics of superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors (SNSPDs). By extracting a scaling law from a well-known electrothermal model of SNSPDs, we show that the rise time of the readout signal encodes the photon number as well as the length of the nanowire with scaling trise∞ℓ/n. We show that these results hold regardless of the exact form of the thermal effects. This explains how SNSPDs have an inherent photon-number-resolving capability. We experimentally verify the photon-number dependence by collecting waveforms for different photon numbers, rescaling them according to our predicted relation, and performing statistical analysis that shows that there is no statistical significance between the rescaled curves. Additionally, we use our predicted dependence of the rise time on the detector length to provide further insight into previous theoretical work by other authors. By assuming a specific thermal model, we predict that rise time will scale with the bias current, trise∞1/Ib. We fit this model to experimental data and find that trise∞1/(n0.52±0.03Ib0.63±0.02), which suggests that further work is needed to better understand the bias-current dependence. This work gives insights into the nonequilibrium dynamics of thin superconducting films exposed to electromagnetic radiation.

Short TitlePhysical Review Applied