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Article

Vortex-assisted mechanism of photon counting in a superconducting nanowire single-photon detector revealed by external magnetic field

Physical Review B: Condensed Matter and Materials Physics. 2015. Vol. 92. No. 10. P. 104503-1-104503-9.
Vodolazov D., Korneeva Y., Semenov A., Korneev A., Goltsman G.

We use an external magnetic field to probe the detection mechanism of a superconducting nanowire single-photon detector. We argue that the hot belt model (which assumes partial suppression of the superconducting order parameter Delta across the whole width of the superconducting nanowire after absorption of the photon) does not explain observed weak-field dependence of the photon count rate (PCR) for photons with lambda = 450 nm and noticeable decrease of PCR (with increasing the magnetic field) in a range of the currents for photons with wavelengths lambda = 450-1200 nm. Found experimental results for all studied wavelengths can be explained by the vortex hot spot model (which assumes partial suppression of Delta in the area with size smaller than the width of the nanowire) if one takes into account nucleation and entrance of the vortices to the photon induced hot spot and their pinning by the hot spot with relatively large size and strongly suppressed Delta.