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Superconductor ’Eyes’ IR Wavelengths

Photonics Spectra
Sep 1999
A superconducting device that detects individual photons at longer wavelengths than was previously possible could have a far-reaching impact on advances in telecommunications and IR astronomy.

Designed jointly by a researcher at the University of Rochester in New York and colleagues from Moscow State Pedagogical University in Russia, the superconductor detects photons between 3 and 10 µm. Made of niobium nitride, the films can detect individual photons at a rate of 25 billion per second.

The discovery comes as part of an effort sponsored by the Office of Naval Research to promote international cooperation among scientists in the post-Cold War era.

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