ECE Seminar Lecture Series

Superconducting single-photon detector

Professor Robert Hadfield, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom

Wednesday, April 7, 2021
Noon–1 p.m. Passcode: 066310









A host of emerging 21st technologies rely on the ability to detect single photons at infrared wavelengths.  Quantum key distribution allows secure communications over long distance fibre optic networks or even from ground to space.  Single photon LIDAR systems allow eye-safe imaging over long distances.  Single photon detection underpins fluorescence measurements in the life sciences and dose monitoring for laser cancer treatment.  Single photon detection lies at the heart of optical approaches to quantum computing and even has a role to play in the search for dark matter.  My work focusses on high sensitivity and low noise single photon detection with superconducting detectors.  I will give an overview of the latest developments in superconducting single photon detector technology and follow through into applications through the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme.


Robert Hadfield is Professor of Photonics in the James Watt School of Engineering at the University of Glasgow, Scotland.  Robert received his PhD from the University of Cambridge, UK in 2003.  He was a postdoctoral researcher at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado from 2003 to 2007.  He returned to the UK as a Royal Society University Research Fellow in 2007, establishing a research group at Heriot-Watt University, before joining the University of Glasgow in 2013.  He is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.  He won the 2019 James Joule Medal of the Institute of Physics.