Previously, photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) were the only available technology in the short wavelength UV portion of the spectrum capable of single photon detection sensitivity. However, these fragile vacuum tube devices are expensive and bulky, hindering true systems miniaturization.
The Northwestern team, led by Manijeh Razeghi, Walter P. Murphy Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering, became the world’s first to demonstrate back-illuminated single photon detection from a III-nitride photodetector. These back-illuminated devices, based on GaN compound semiconductors, benefit from the larger ionization coefficient for holes in this material. The back-illumination geometry will facilitate future integration of these devices with read-out circuitry to realize unique single-photon UV cameras. Towards that end, the team has already demonstrated excellent uniformity of the breakdown characteristics and gain across the wafer.
The devices are coupled with a quenching circuit and operated under large reverse bias, an arrangement termed in Geiger mode operation. The sensor system presents an effective photocurrent gain greater than 107, single photon detection efficiencies of 23 percent, dark count rates of less than 1 kHz, and no response to visible radiation.
Once optimized, discrete detectors could be combined with the ultraviolet LEDs already pioneered by the Center for Quantum Devices to create an inexpensive detection system capable of identifying the unique spectral fingerprints of a biological agent attack. They can also be paired with UV LEDs to create a new form of non-line of sight UV-communication, secure from remote eavesdropping.
These exciting new results were recently presented at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) during the Single Photon Detection Workshop hosted by Dr. Matthew Goodman, and held in Arlington, VA on Nov. 27, 2007 and at the SPIE Photonics West Conference held in San Jose, CA on Jan. 19-24, 2008. This work was also published in the July 23, 2007 issue of the journal Applied Physics Letters.
Kyle Delaney | EurekAlert!
Long-distance quantum information exchange -- success at the nanoscale
18.03.2019 | University of Copenhagen
How heavy elements come about in the universe
18.03.2019 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
New research group at the University of Jena combines theory and experiment to demonstrate for the first time certain physical processes in a quantum vacuum
For most people, a vacuum is an empty space. Quantum physics, on the other hand, assumes that even in this lowest-energy state, particles and antiparticles...
Physicists in the EPic Lab at University of Sussex make crucial development in global race to develop a portable atomic clock
Scientists in the Emergent Photonics Lab (EPic Lab) at the University of Sussex have made a breakthrough to a crucial element of an atomic clock - devices...
Every year earthquakes worldwide claim hundreds or even thousands of lives. Forewarning allows people to head for safety and a matter of seconds could spell...
Scientists of the Department of Physics at the University of Hamburg, Germany, detected the magnetic states of atoms on a surface using only heat. The...
Combining an atomically thin graphene and a boron nitride layer at a slightly rotated angle changes their electrical properties. Physicists at the University of Basel have now shown for the first time the combination with a third layer can result in new material properties also in a three-layer sandwich of carbon and boron nitride. This significantly increases the number of potential synthetic materials, report the researchers in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Last year, researchers in the US caused a big stir when they showed that rotating two stacked graphene layers by a “magical” angle of 1.1 degrees turns...
11.03.2019 | Event News
01.03.2019 | Event News
28.02.2019 | Event News
18.03.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.03.2019 | Materials Sciences
18.03.2019 | Physics and Astronomy