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Single photon detection system among nominees for UMD's "Most Promising Inventions" for 2014

Alessandro Restelli demonstrates the new detector control system. Image courtesy of NIST-PML, 2014

For University of Maryland researchers, the last year has marked a series of new discoveries and innovations. UMD will honor nine nominees for the most promising new inventions at the Celebration of Innovation and Partnerships event on April 29, 2015. UMD’s Office of Technology Commercialization, part of the Division of Research, received a total of 187 disclosures in 2014. The nine nominees for Invention of the Year were selected based on their potential impact on science, society and the open market. Winners will be announced in three categories: life sciences, physical sciences and information sciences.

A single photon detection system developed at NIST, by researchers from JQI and the Jet Propulsion Lab at CalTech, was among the nominees. The co-inventors are: 

Alessandro Restelli, JQI-UMD

Josh Bienfang, JQI-NIST

Alan Migdall, JQI-NIST

William Farr, Jet Propulsion Lab

The group developed a single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) detection system that is so sensitive that it detects photons that arrive at times well before a readout gate is applied, thus increasing the system’s detection duty cycle. This invention represents a new mode of operation for SPADs, similar to charge-coupled devices (CCD), in which single-photon signals may be accumulated within the detector and read out some time later. This increases the duration of time during which the detector is sensitive to single-photon signals. This new mode of operation will expand the usefulness of SPADs in the areas of Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) and quantum cryptography. 

Source: CMNS with modifications for JQI website made by E. Edwards

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