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Transition-edge sensors are widely recognized as one of the most sensitive tools for the photon and particles detection in many areas, from astrophysics to quantum computing. Their application became practical after understanding that rather than being biased in a constant current mode, they should be biased in a constant voltage mode. Despite the methods of voltage biasing of these sensors are well developed since then, generally the current biasing is more convenient for superconducting circuits. Thus transition-edge sensors designed inherently to operate in the current-biased mode are desirable. We developed a design for such detectors based on re-entrant superconductivity. In this case constant current biasing takes place in the normal state, below the superconducting transition, so that following the absorption of a photon it does not yield a latching. Rather, the sensor gains energy and shifts towards the lower resistant (e.g., superconducting) state, and then cools down faster (since Joule heating is now reduced), and resets in a natural way to be able to detect the next photon. We prototyped this kind of transition edge sensors and tested them operational in accordance with the outlined physics. The samples used in experiments were modified compositions of YBCO-superconductors in a ceramic form (which, as we discovered, reproducibly demonstrates re-entrant superconductivity). In this presentation we report their composition, methods of preparation, and the detection results. This approach, in some areas, may have practical advantage over the traditional voltage-biased devices.


This article was originally published in Physics Procedia, volume 67, in 2015.

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