Superconducting Tunnel Junctions (STJs) used as single photon detectors possess extreme sensitivity and excellent resolving power. However, like many other cryogenic detectors they operate under extremely non-equilibrium conditions. In order to understand the physics of the non-equilibrium, non-stationary state, to interpret experimental data adequately, and to optimize the STJs unique performance, it is necessary to use a fully kinetic approach. We have developed the detailed theory of interactions between quasiparticles (qps) and the two types of phonons, sub-gap and pair-breaking, in STJ photon detectors. We discuss the results of extensive sets of experiments to study the non-equilibrium state in Al-based STJs. For the first time we are capable of explaining all available data systematically using a single set of parameters determined from STJ diagnostics and independent experiments.
|Journal||Nuclear instruments & methods in physics research. Section A : Accelerators, spectrometers, detectors and associated equipment|
|Publication status||Published - 2006|