High Efficiency Single Photon Detection via Frequency Up-Conversion

Aaron P. VanDevender, Paul G. Kwiat

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


We propose a method of single photon detection of infrared (IR) photons at potentially higher efficiencies and lower noise than allowed by traditional IR band Avalanche Photodiodes (APD). By up-converting the photon from IR, e.g., 1550 nm, to a visible wavelength in a nonlinear crystal, we can utilize the much higher efficiency of visible wavelength APDs. We have used a nonlinear crystal - Periodically Poled Lithium Niobate (PPLN) - and a pulsed 1064-nm Nd:YAG laser to perform the up-conversion to a 631-nm photon. When properly quasi-phase-matched, PPLN provides a large enough second order nonlinear susceptibility that near unit conversion efficiency of the IR photon into the visible should be possible. We have been able to observe peak conversion efficiencies as high as 80%, and have demonstrated scaling down to the single photon level while maintaining a background of 3 × 10-4 dark counts/count. Since the PPLN only acts on one polarization of the single photon, we also propose a 2-crystal extension of this scheme whereby orthogonal polarizations may be up-converted coherently, thereby enabling complete quantum state transduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-224
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2003
EventPROCEEDINGS OF SPIE SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering: Quantum Information and Computation - Orlando, FL, United States
Duration: Apr 21 2003Apr 22 2003


  • Quantum Cryptography
  • Quantum Information
  • Single Photon Detection
  • Up-Conversion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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