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NbN-Nb-Al superconducting tunnel junctions as photon counting detectors

NbN-Nb-Al superconducting tunnel junctions as photon counting detectors

Publication date: 16 May 1998

Authors: Rando, N., et al.

Journal: Journal of Applied Physics
Volume: 83
Issue: 10
Page: 5536-5542
Year: 1998

Copyright: American Institute of Physics

Asymmetric NbN-Nb-Al-AlOx-Al-Nb superconducting tunnel junctions have been investigated as photon counting detectors at x-ray and ultraviolet (UV)-visible wavelengths. The inclusion of a thin NbN passivation layer on the top electrode of the devices in place of the natural niobium oxides has reduced the quasiparticle loss rates, thereby enhancing the probability of multiple tunnel processes. As a consequence, the detector responsivity has increased from 900e-/eV, up to values in excess of 2000e-/eV in the temperature range 0.30-0.8 K. Such a responsivity level has allowed single photon counting performance at wavelengths as long as 700 nm and at operating temperatures as high as 830 mK. The devices show a linear response in the UV-visible range, while at 6 keV the expected nonlinearities in the energy response and moderate energy resolution similar to that found in Nb-Al junctions are observed.

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