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Single-photon detectors (SPDs) that can sense individual photons are the most sensitive instruments for photodetection. Established SPDs such as conventional silicon or III-V compound semiconductor avalanche diodes and photomultiplier tubes have been used in a wide range of time-correlated photon-counting applications, including quantum information technologies, in vivo biomedical imaging, time-of-flight 3D scanners, and deep-space optical communications. However, further development of these fields requires more sophisticated detectors with high detection efficiency, fast response, and photon-number-resolving ability, etc. Thereby, significant efforts have been made to improve the performance of conventional SPDs and to develop new photon-counting technologies. In this review, the working mechanisms and key performance metrics of conventional SPDs are first summarized. Then emerging photon-counting detectors (in the visible to infrared range) based on 0D quantum dots, 1D quantum nanowires, and 2D layered materials are discussed. These low-dimensional materials exhibit many exotic properties due to the quantum confinement effect. And photodetectors built from these nD-materials (n = 0, 1, 2) can potentially be used for ultra-weak light detection. By reviewing the status and discussing the challenges faced by SPDs, this review aims to provide future perspectives on the research directions of emerging photon-counting technologies. © 2021 Wiley-VCH GmbH.


Hailu Wang, Jiaxiang Guo, Jinshui Miao, Wenjin Luo, Yue Gu, Runzhang Xie, Fang Wang, Lili Zhang, Peng Wang, Weida Hu. Emerging Single-Photon Detectors Based on Low-Dimensional Materials. Small (Weinheim an der Bergstrasse, Germany). 2022 Feb;18(5):e2103963

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PMID: 34632717

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