Fluctuations and dark count rates in superconducting NbN single-photon detectors



We measured the temperature- and current-dependence of dark count rates of a superconducting singlephoton detector. The detector's key element is a 84 nm wide meander strip line fabricated from a 5 nm thick NbN film. Due to its reduced dimensions various types of fluctuations can cause temporal and localized transitions into a resistive state leading to dark count events. Adopting a recent refinement of the hotspot model we achieve a satisfying description of the experimental dark count rates taking into account fluctuations of the Cooper-pair density and current-assisted unbinding of vortex-antivortex pairs. (© 2005 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)