The optimization of superconducting thin-films has pushed the sensitivity of superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors (SNSPDs) to the mid-infrared (mid-IR). Earlier demonstrations have shown that straight tungsten silicide nanowires can achieve unity internal detection efficiency (IDE) up to λ = 10 μm. For a high system detection efficiency (SDE), the active area needs to be increased, but material nonuniformity and nanofabrication-induced constrictions make mid-IR large-area meanders challenging to yield. In this work, we improve the sensitivity of superconducting materials and optimize a high-resolution nanofabrication process to demonstrate large-area SNSPDs with unity IDE at 7.4 μm. Our approach yields large-area meanders down to 50 nm width, with average line-width roughness below 10%, and with a lower impact from constrictions compared to previous demonstrations. Our methods pave the way to high-efficiency SNSPDs in the mid-IR band with potential impacts on astronomy, imaging, and physical chemistry.

A complete description of the work may be found here.