In superconducting single-photon detectors (SSPD), the efficiency of local suppression of superconductivity and hotspot formation is controlled by diffusivity and electron-phonon interaction time. Here, we selected a material, 3.6-nm-thick MoNx film, which features diffusivity close to those of NbN traditionally used for SSPD fabrication, but with electron-phonon interaction time an order of magnitude larger. In MoN∞ detectors, we study the dependence of detection efficiency on bias current, photon energy, and strip width, and compare it with NbN SSPD. We observe nonlinear current-energy dependence in MoNx SSPD and more pronounced plateaus in dependences of detection efficiency on bias current, which we attribute to longer electron-phonon interaction time.
The superconducting energy gap is a fundamental characteristic of a superconducting film, which, together with the applied pump power and the biasing setup, defines the instantaneous resistive state of the Hot Electron Bolometer (HEB) mixer at any given bias point on the I-V curve. In this paper we report on a series of experiments, in which we subjected the HEB to radiation over a wide frequency range along with parallel microwave injection. We have observed three distinct regimes of operation of the HEB, depending on whether the radiation is above the gap frequency, far below it or close to it. These regimes are driven by the different patterns of photon absorption. The experiments have allowed us to derive the approximate gap frequency of the device under test as about 585 GHz. Microwave injection was used to probe the HEB impedance. Spontaneous switching between the superconducting (low resistive) state and a quasi-normal (high resistive) state was observed. The switching pattern depends on the particular regime of HEB operation and can assume a random pattern at pump frequencies below the gap to a regular relaxation oscillation running at a few MHz when pumped above the gap.