Single Photon Counting Detectors

January 25-29, 2010
California Institute of Technology - Pasadena, CA 91125

Final Report

Workshop Overview:

This study will significantly advance the capability to build single photon counting array detectors at submillimeter to ultraviolet wavelengths for astronomy, including optical single photon detectors for communications. The ability to count single photons offers the ultimate sensitivity for imaging and spectroscopic astronomical instruments. This sensitivity is required to achieve astronomical background limited sensitivity in the submillimeter-far infrared wavelength range which will surely be exploited in follow-on missions to Spitzer and Herschel, as well as to GALEX at ultraviolet wavelengths. Single photon counting detection offers the potential for energy resolving arrays that can carry out low-resolution spectroscopic imaging without the complexity or loss from wavelength-selective devices. This capability is required for the highest performance coronagraphs envisioned for future exoplanet detection missions.

Single photon detectors are essential to optimize high bandwidth optical communication links to distant spacecraft whose data rates will themselves be growing rapidly. In the initial phase of this study, we will examine a number of single photon detection concepts at different stages of development. By using two workshops, and activating study groups involving JPL, Caltech, industry, and researchers at other academic institutions, we will develop a plan for advancing the state of the art. We will select for further study a subset of promising technologies in different spectral regions and at different stages of development. This selection will be done on the basis of technical issues combined with possibilities for use in space missions currently under consideration.

We see this program as a synergistic one between these different concepts in terms of basic physics, materials, fabrication, readout techniques, and testing; one that will result in a "quantum leap forward" for single photon counting detector technology.

Workshop Participants:

  • James W Beletic - Teledyne Imaging Sensors
  • Karl K Berggren - MIT
  • Matt Bradford - JPL
  • Juan Bueno - Centro de AstroBiologia
  • Faustin Carter - Yale University
  • Bill Cottingame - Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems
  • Peter Day - JPL
  • Pierre M Echternach - JPL
  • Bill Farr - JPL
  • Don F Figer - RIT
  • Scott E Fraser - Caltech
  • Peg A Frerking - JPL
  • Luis Giordano - Universidad De Talca
  • Paul F Goldsmith - JPL/Caltech
  • Erika T Hamden - Columbia University
  • Sasha Hinkley - Caltech
  • Michael Hoenk - JPL
  • Kent Irwin - NIST
  • Boris Karasik - JPL/Caltech
  • H.J. Kimble - Caltech
  • Teun Klapwijk - Delft Univ of Technology
  • Chao-Lin Kuo - Standford University
  • Yuhwa Lo - UCSD
  • Phil Lubin - UCSB
  • Peter Mao - Caltech
  • Christopher Martin - Caltech
  • Ben Mazin - UCSB
  • Sean McHugh - UCSB
  • Bob T Menzies - JPL
  • Alan Migdall - Joint Quantum Institute
  • Patrick Morrissey - Caltech
  • Harvey Moseley - NASA/GSFC
  • Mark Muzilla - DRS Sensors & Targeting Systems
  • Sae Woo Nam - NIST
  • Shouleh Nikzad - JPL
  • Oskar Painter - Caltech
  • Sergey Pereverzev - JPL
  • Dan E Prober - Yale University
  • Daniel Santavicca - Yale University
  • Virendra Sarohia - JPL
  • David Schiminovich - Columbia University
  • Dan R Schuette - MIT Lincoln Laboratory
  • Andrei Sergeev - Univ at Buffalo - SUNY
  • Roman Sobolewski - Univ of Rochester
  • Jeff A Stern - JPL
  • John Vallerga - UC Berkeley
  • Nai-Chang Yeh - Caltech
  • Xinyu Zheng - JPL
  • Jonas Zmuidzinas - Caltech/JPL

Workshop Presentations

James Beletic

Single Photon Counting in the X-ray, Visible and Infrared

Juan Bueno

Optical Characterization of the Quantum Capacitance Detector (QCD)

Bill Cottingame
Northrup Grumman

Requirements and Candidates for Ladar Single-Photon Detector Arrays

Pierre Echternach

Proof of Concept of the Quantum Capacitance Detector

Bill Farr

Photon Counting Detectors for Laser Communications and Interplanetary Light Science

Don Figer
Rochester Imaging Detector Lab

Developing and Deploying Single Photon Counting Array Detectors

Scott Fraser

Potential Biomedical Applications

Sasha Hinkley

High-Contrast Imaging and Exoplanet Applications

Michael Hoenk

Delta Doping Technology for UV Photon Counting Detector Arrays

Kent Irwin

Photon Detection with the TES: Gamma-Rays to the CMB Technology for a Mega-Pixel Imager

Boris Karasik

Superconducting Hot-Electron Nanobolometer for FIR and Mid-IR Single-Photon Spectroscopy

Teun Klapwijk
Kavli Institute of Nanoscience, Delft

Resistive Superconducting Films for Photonsensing Devices Conventional Superconductivity in 'Bad Metals.'

Chao-Lin Kuo

Photon Counting Astronomy with TES

Yuhwa Lo

New Concepts of IR Single-Photon Detectors

Peter Mao

Energy Resolved Imaging in X‐Ray Astrophysics

Chris Martin

Applications for UV Photon Counting Detectors: Mapping the Hidden Cosmic Web of Baryons

Ben Mazin

Optical/UV Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors (MKIDs)

Alan Migdall

Single-Photon Detector & Metrology Efforts at NIST

Patrick Morrissey

Delta Doped L3 CCD Imagers for Low Surface Brightness UV Astronomy: From GALEX to the IGM

Sae Woo Nam

NIST Optical Photon Detectors (UV to NIR) for Quantum Information Mega-pixel TES camera

Oskar Painter

Nanooptomechanics: Utilizing Light Forces Within Guidedwave Nanostructures

Dan Prober
Yale University

Superconducting Single Photon Detectors

Dan Santavicca
Yale University

Energy Resolution of THz Single-Photon-Sensitive Bolometric Detectors

Dave Schiminovich
Columbia University

UV Photon Counting Detectors: Past and Future Challenges

Andrei Sergeev
SUNY at Buffalo

Quantum Noise Limit in Ultrasensitive Nanodetectors: Counting of Phonons

Roman Sobolewski
University of Rochester

Superconducting single-photon detectors as photon-energy and polarization resolving devices

John Vallerga
UC Berkeley

Microchannel Plate Single Photon Imaging Detectors for Astronomy - Do They Need to be Replaced?

Nai-Chang Yeh

Novel Nano-Engineered Semiconductors for Possible Photon Sources and Detectors

Jonas Zmuidzinas

MKIDS: Prospects for the far‐IR