Superconducting nanowire single-photon detector

Updated:2016-01-29 (

Single photon detection represents the peak of optical signals and is applicable in strategic fields such as quantum information, deep space communications and remote sensing technology.

Aiming to meet the urgent demand of superconducting nanowire single-photon detector (SNSPD) in quantum information, Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology (SIMIT), Chinese Academy of Sciences, has built the state-of-the-art Superconducting ELectronic Facilities, which has made breakthroughs in design, materials, components and system integration and developed a group of SNSPDs with detection efficiency at the wavelength of 532, 850, 940, 1,064 and 1,500 nm.


Among these SNSPDs, one of them boasts detection efficiency as high as 80 percent at the wavelength of 1550 nm and the ultra-low noise below 1 Hz.

At the beginning of 2014, SIMIT joined hand with the research team of Pan Jianwei, a quantum scientist at the University of Science and Technology of China, to finish the experiment that makes the safe transmission distance of measurement device independent quantum key distribution ((MDI-QKD) to reach 200 km in laboratory condition and 30 km in actural environment. 

The successful experiment enables the quantum communication to avoid security vulnerablities brought by hacker’s attack on detector, and it was honored as a milestone in practical quantum key distribution and a great progress in physics and technology.

The achievement was listed among the top 10 news on sci-tech progress ofChinafor 2014 by academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese  Academy of Engineering. 

The SNSPDs with Shanghai gene and independent intellectual property rights has broken blockade of foreign technology and and monopoly on product and ensuredChina’s leading role in quantum communication. These SNSPDs have tapped into international market and become the only exporter of quantum information technology and products in China.