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John O | January 2018

Glasgow researchers develop supercooled platform for detecting single photons


A team of researchers from the University of Glasgow (U.K.) and the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (Oxfordshire, U.K.) have released a letter describing a novel, supercooled detector platform based on superconducting nanowire single photon detectors (SNSPD) that is capable of detecting a single photon, according to a report on the university website.

 


A portable supercooled detector platform has been developed at the University of Glasgow.
(University of Glasgow)

 

The report, which was released in September, indicated that the platform has low enough power consumption that it can be used outside of the lab for the first time.

 

“While SNSPDs have facilitated numerous significant advances in quantum science over the last decade,” the article explained, “they need to be cooled to a just few degrees above absolute zero (−273.15°C) in order to work effectively - a process which requires expensive and hazardous liquid helium, or a great deal of electrical power to achieve.”

 

This new research adapts work that was originally intended for the European Space Agency (ESA) Planck mission with a fiber-optic coupled superconducting detector from Dutch start-up Single Quantum and places it in a miniaturized cooler that can reach as low as -268.95°C or 4.2°K.

 

Researchers believe that this technology could be used in driverless car systems and medical processes such as the delivery of cancer medications.

 

Read the full letter from the University of Glasgow researchers at http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1361-6668/aa8ac7/meta.

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