Photon Detectors

Single photon detectors are the key components in numerous photonics-related applications such as quantum cryptography, optical time-domain reflectometry, and integrated circuit testing as well as serving diverse applications in metrology, both classical and, more recently, quantum. We are working on several different systems including single photon avalanche photodiodes (SPAD), superconducting nanowire single photon detectors (SNSPD) and hybrid devices for both visible and telecom wavelengths. Notably, several detection systems have a significant commercial impact and are being transferred to the industry.

Recent Work

  • Single photon avalanche diodes for the visible and near-infrared:
    • Development and testing new gating solutions in order to speed up the detection rate up to the GHz range.
    • Free running SPAD detectors.
    • Characterizing SPAD performance at very low temperatures in order to suppress the thermal noise.
  • Superconducting Nanowire Single-Photon Detectors (SNSPDs):
    • Nanofabrication (at CMi, EPFL), characterization (at UNIGe), and applications of SNSPDs.
    • Development of new electronic circuits for cryogenic devices such as SNSPDs in order to improve the Signal-To-Noise ratio.
    • Development of a new generation of SNSPDs. Innosuisse grant, funded by the Swiss Innovation Agency.
  • Hybrid Detection Systems
    • Time-multiplexed and Photon number resolving detectors
    • Up-conversion detection


Contact: Hugo Zbinden

Team: Hugo Zbinden, Rob Thew, Félix Bussières, Misael Caloz, Gaetan Gras, Matthieu Perrenoud, Claudio Barreiro