What is it about?

We describe how we integrated superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors (SNSPD) within a SWIFTS microspectrometer. The nanowires are aligned under a ridge waveguide, that forms a loop in order to create a standing-wave interference pattern. That interference pattern can be measured by the single-photon detectors, with the aim of calculating the spectrum of the injected light (via inverse Fourier transform). It is the first time the SWIFTS concept is attempted with SNSPDs, with an attempt of direct measurement of the interference pattern (instead of pattern projection as was previously done).

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Why is it important?

Despite the nanowires not all being functional, we show that we are capable of measuring clear variations within the interference pattern, which proves the validity of the concept. This is the first demonstrated integration of SNSPDs with waveguides, and within a more elaborated device. This is also the first demonstration of in-situ interferogram measurement.

Perspectives

The integration of SNSPDs in micro/nano-optoelectronics is an important area of research to yield concrete applications. Aside from the innovative design, we have provided important developments for technology compatibility between the different parts of the device. Despite the relatively limited means and a reduced team, the results demonstrated were beyond contemporary realizations. Even if I chose afterwards to embark on other adventures, I am open to discuss the topic further in details and work with interested researchers.

Dr Paul Cavalier

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This page is a summary of: Light interference detection on-chip by integrated SNSPD counters, AIP Advances, December 2011, American Institute of Physics, DOI: 10.1063/1.3656744.
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