In order to be suitable for low energy event detection, the materials should 

  • be available as homogeneous thin films, typically between 4-20 nm thin. Current materials exist in different forms. Amorphous or single-crystal films offer the best homogeneity, noise and reproducibility.
  • be responsive to standard structuring technologies, such as e-beam or photo-lithography
  • have a high critical temperature, since the cooling power of closed cycle refrigeration systems drops rapidly with the absolute temperature. While >30 W cooling power are available at 30 K, only 10 mW might be available at 10 mK, even though the scaling is not quite as linear as it may appear here.   


was the first material used for Superconducting Nanowire detection, first demonstrated in Moscow by the Golt'smann Group in 2001. The material is generally polycrystalline but offers a critical temperature around 10 k.    

  • Semenov, A.D., et al., Quantum detection by current carrying superconducting film, Physica C 351, 349 (2001).
  • Korneev, A., et al., Sensitivity and gigahertz counting performance of NbN superconducting single-photon detectors, Appl. Phys. Lett., 84, 5338 (2004).
  • Korneev, A., et al., Quantum efficiency and noise equivalent power of nanostructured, NbN, single-photon detectors in the wavelength range from visible to infrared, Ieee Transactions on Applied Superconductivity, 15, 571 (2005).
  • Annunziata, A.J., et al., Niobium Superconducting Nanowire Single-Photon Detectors, 19, 327 (2009).
  • Marsili, F., et al., High quality superconducting NbN thin films on GaAs, Supercond. Sci. Technol., 22, 7 (2009).
  • Bitauld, D., et al., NbN nanowire superconducting single photon detectors fabricated on MgO substrates, Journal of Modern Optics, 56, 395 (2009).
  • Seki, T., et al., Comparison of timing jitter between NbN superconducting single-photon detector and avalanche photodiode, Physica C-Superconductivity and Its Applications, 470, 1534 (2010).
  • Kitaygorsky, J., et al., Amplitude distributions of dark counts and photon counts in NbN superconducting single-photon detectors integrated with the HEMT readout, Physica C-Superconductivity and Its Applications, 532, 33 (2017).


  • Machhadani, H., et al., Improvement of the critical temperature of NbTiN films on III-nitride substrates, Supercon. Sci. Technol., 32, (2019).
  • Steinhauer, S., et al., NbTiN thin films for superconducting photon detectors on photonic and two-dimensional materials, Appl. Phys. Lett., 116, (2020).
  • Li, J., et al., Nano-optical single-photon response mapping of waveguide integrated molybdenum silicide (MoSi) superconducting nanowires, Opt Express, 24, 13931 (2016).
  • Korneeva, Y.P., et al., Superconducting single-photon detector made of MoSi film, Supercon. Sci. Technol., 27, (2014).
  • Charaev, I., et al., Large-area microwire MoSi single-photon detectors at 1550 nm wavelength, Appl. Phys. Lett., 116, (2020).
  • D. Salvoni et al., Demonstration of Single Photon Detection in Amorphous Molybdenum Silicide / Aluminium Superconducting Nanostrip, IEEE Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine, (2021)


  • Chiles, J., et al., Superconducting microwire detectors based on WSi with single-photon sensitivity in the near-infrared, Appl. Phys. Lett., 116, (2020).
  • Gaudio, R., et al., Experimental investigation of the detection mechanism in WSi nanowire superconducting single photon detectors, Appl. Phys. Lett., 109, (2016).


  • Korneeva, Y., et al., Comparison of Hot Spot Formation in NbN and MoN Thin Superconducting Films After Photon Absorption, Ieee Transactions on Applied Superconductivity, 27, 4 (2017)


  • Shibata, H., et al., Photon detection and fabrication of MgB2 nanowire, Physica C-Superconductivity and Its Applications, 468, 1992 (2008).
  • Shibata, H., Fabrication of a MgB2nanowire single-photon detector using Br2–N2dry etching, Applied Physics Express, 7, (2014).
  • Zen, N., et al., Biomolecular ion detection using high-temperature superconducting MgB2 strips, Appl. Phys. Lett., 106, (201

Amorphous vs Crystalline

  • Caloz, M., et al., High-detection efficiency and low-timing jitter with amorphous superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors, Appl. Phys. Lett., 112, 061103 (2018).
  • Cheng, R., et al., Epitaxial niobium nitride superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors, Appl. Phys. Lett., 117, (2020).

High-Tc materials

  • Masilamani, N., et al., Effect of Substrate and Buffer Layer Materials on Properties of Thin YBa2Cu3O7-x Films, IEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity, 23, 5 (2013).
  • Amari, P., et al., High-temperature superconducting nano-meanders made by ion irradiation, Supercond. Sci. Technol., 31, 6 (2018).

Molecular templates

  • Bezryadin, A., and P.M. Goldbart, Superconducting nanowires fabricated using molecular templates, Adv Mater, 22, 1111 (2010).