Superconducting nanosensors with mesoscopic number of quasiparticles

A. V. Sergeev, V. V. Mitin, B. S. Karasik, M. E. Gershenson

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Novel approach to detection of low-energy (submillimeter and infrared) photons is based on implementation of the electron heating in superconducting nanostructures with small number of quasiparticles. In a hot-electron sensor, the incoming quanta generate nonequilibrium quasiparticles, which affect either the resistivity (transition-edge sensor) or the inductance (kinetic-inductance sensor operating in the superconducting state). The sensitivity of this sensor is limited by equilibrium fluctuations of the number of quasiparticle excitations, and a small number of quasiparticles is the key issue for high performance. The relaxation time in superconducting structures can be controlled over the range from 10 ps (outdiffusion of quasiparticles) to 0.1 s (phonon cooling). Therefore, hot-electron sensors can be employed as relatively slow ultra-sensitive detectors or fast photon counters, depending on a dominant cooling mechanism. The counter can resolve photons of submillimeter and terahertz ranges with the counting rate of 1011 count/s. Hot-electron nanosensors are expected to deliver the unique performance: the noise equivalent power of 10-20 W/√Hz and the energy resolution of 10-21-10-23 J.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-177
Number of pages5
JournalPhysica E: Low-Dimensional Systems and Nanostructures
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jul 2003
EventFourth International Symposium on Nanostructures and Mesoscopi - Tempe, AZ, United States
Duration: Feb 17 2003Feb 21 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Condensed Matter Physics


  • Andreev mirrors
  • Counter
  • Detector
  • Sensor
  • Single-photon
  • Terahertz


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