Superconducting Nanowire Detectors 

for Biomolecular Ions


We explore the ground for a scalable superconducting particle detector technology. We will focus on superconducting nanowire detectors (SNWD), which have become available as small chips for applications in fast and efficient single-photon detection. First studies have also shown that SNWDs can detect molecular ions. However, many technological challenges still need to be addressed to prove the concept is sustainable and the detection of neutral molecules is still an open field of research. The wire geometry needs to be balanced between detector area, sensitivity, speed, robustness and scalability. The dependence of the detection efficiency on kinetic energy needs to be evaluated.

EU ATTRACT SUMO serves as a pilot study to demonstrate the potential of this technology. In its second stage, realized in a EU FET Open project, SuperMaMa, starting 2020, it shall be up-scaled into a full SNWD array with cryogenic amplification, signal conversion and storage. A cryogenic particle camera has the potential of becoming a game changer in mass spectrometry and quantum thermal spectroscopy for biopolymer research.

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