A superconducting tunnel junction x-ray detector with performance limited by statistical effects

J. B. Le Grand, C. A. Mears, L. J. Hiller, Matthias Frank, S. E. Labov, H. Netel, D. Chow, S. Friedrich, M. A. Lindeman, A. T. Barfknecht

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35 Scopus citations

Abstract

We have characterized a thin-film Nb/Al/AlOx/Al/Nb superconducting tunnel junction (STJ) optimized for low electronic noise as an x-ray detector in the 0.2-1 keV photon energy range. The spectra measured with this junction have high spectral purity with, to the best of our knowledge, the best energy resolution ever achieved with this type of detector in this energy band. The discrepancy between the theoretical and experimental energy resolution is only about 15%. Part of this small discrepancy may be explained by the fact that our junction has electrodes made from niobium/aluminum bilayers, while the theoretical result is for electrodes made from only one material. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that resolution achieved with a STJ x-ray detector is in agreement with the resolution predicted from statistical fluctuations in the creation and tunneling of quasiparticles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1295-1297
Number of pages3
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Volume73
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)

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    Le Grand, J. B., Mears, C. A., Hiller, L. J., Frank, M., Labov, S. E., Netel, H., Chow, D., Friedrich, S., Lindeman, M. A., & Barfknecht, A. T. (1998). A superconducting tunnel junction x-ray detector with performance limited by statistical effects. Applied Physics Letters, 73(9), 1295-1297. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.122372