A Comparison of VN and NbN Thin Films Towards Optimal SNSPD Efficiency
Based on early phenomenological ideas about the operation of superconducting single-photon detectors (SSPD or SNSPD), it was expected that materials with a lower superconducting gap should perform better in the IR range. The plausibility of this concept could be checked using two popular SSPD materials - NbN and WSi films. However, these materials differ strongly in crystallographic structure (polycrystalline B1 versus amorphous), which makes their dependence on disorder different. In our work we present a study of the single-photon response of SSPDs made from two disordered B1 structure superconductors - vanadium nitride and niobium nitride thin films. We compare the intrinsic efficiency of devices made from films with different sheet resistance values. While both materials have a polycrystalline structure and comparable diffusion coefficient values, VN films show metallic behavior over a wide range of sheet resistance, in contrast toNbNfilms with an insulator-like temperature dependence of resistivity, which may be partially due to enhanced Coulomb interaction, leading to different starting points for the normal electron density of states. The results show that even though VN devices are more promising in terms of theoretical predictions, their optimal performance was not reached due to lower values of sheet resistance.