Josephson photodetectors via temperature-to-phase conversion

18 May 2018  ·  Virtanen P., Ronzani A., Giazotto F. ·

We theoretically investigate the temperature-to-phase conversion (TPC) process occurring in dc superconducting quantum interferometers based on superconductor--normal metal--superconductor (SNS) mesoscopic Josephson junctions. In particular, we predict the temperature-driven rearrangement of the phase gradients in the interferometer under the fixed constraints of fluxoid quantization and supercurrent conservation... This allows sizeable phase variations across the junctions for suitable structure parameters and temperatures. We show that the TPC can be a basis for sensitive single-photon sensors or bolometers. We propose a radiation detector realizable with conventional materials and state-of-the-art nanofabrication techniques. Integrated with a superconducting quantum interference proximity transistor (SQUIPT) as a readout set-up, an aluminum (Al)-based TPC calorimeter can provide a large signal to noise (S/N) ratio $>100$ in the 10~GHz$\cdots$10~THz frequency range, and a resolving power larger than $10^2$ below 50~mK for THz photons. In the bolometric operation, electrical NEP of $\sim10^{-22}$~W$/\sqrt{\text{Hz}}$ is predicted at 50 mK. This device can be attractive as a cryogenic single-photon sensor operating in the giga- and terahertz regime, with applications in dark matter searches. read more

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