Efficient photon number detection with silicon avalanche photodiodes

Thomas, O.; Yuan, Z. L.; Dynes, J. F.; Sharpe, A. W.; Shields, A. J.
July 2010
Applied Physics Letters;7/19/2010, Vol. 97 Issue 3, p031102
Academic Journal
We demonstrate an efficient photon number detector for visible wavelengths using a silicon avalanche photodiode. Under subnanosecond gating, the device is able to resolve up to four photons in an incident optical pulse. The detection efficiency at 600 nm is measured to be 73.8%, corresponding to an avalanche probability of 91.1% of the absorbed photons, with a dark count probability below 1.1×10-6 per gate. With this performance and operation close to room temperature, fast-gated silicon avalanche photodiodes are ideal for optical quantum information processing that requires single-shot photon number detection.


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