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A superconducting thermal switch with ultrahigh impedance for interfacing superconductors to semiconductors

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

  • Adam McCaughan,
  • V. B. Verma
  • S. M. Buckley
  • J. P. Allmaras
  • Alexander Kozorezov
  • A. N. Tait
  • S. W. Nam
  • J. M. Shainline
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/10/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>Nature Electronics
Number of pages6
Pages (from-to)451-456
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date23/09/19
<mark>Original language</mark>English


A number of current approaches to quantum and neuromorphic computing use superconductors as the basis of their platform or as a measurement component, and will need to operate at cryogenic temperatures. Semiconductor systems are typically proposed as a top-level control in these architectures, with low-temperature passive components and intermediary superconducting electronics acting as the direct interface to the lowest-temperature stages. The architectures, therefore, require a low-power superconductor-semiconductor interface, which is not currently available. Here we report a superconducting switch that is capable of translating low-voltage superconducting inputs directly into semiconductor-compatible (above 1,000 mV) outputs at kelvin-scale temperatures (1 K or 4 K). To illustrate the capabilities in interfacing superconductors and semiconductors, we use it to drive a light-emitting diode (LED) in a photonic integrated circuit, generating photons at 1 K from a low-voltage input and detecting them with an on-chip superconducting single-photon detector. We also characterize our device's timing response (less than 300 ps turn-on, 15 ns turn-off), output impedance (greater than 1 M{\Omega}), and energy requirements (0.18 fJ/um^2, 3.24 mV/nW).