Superconducting nano-strip particle detectors

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Cristiano, R. ; Ejrnaes, M. ; Casaburi, A. ; Zen, N. ; Ohkubo, M. (2015)

We review progress in the development and applications of superconducting nano-strip particle detectors. Particle detectors based on superconducting nano-strips stem from the parent devices developed for single photon detection (SSPD) and share with them ultra-fast response times (sub-nanosecond) and the ability to operate at a relatively high temperature (2–5 K) compared with other cryogenic detectors. SSPDs have been used in the detection of electrons, neutral and charged ions, and biological macromolecules; nevertheless, the development of superconducting nano-strip particle detectors has mainly been driven by their use in time-of-flight mass spectrometers (TOF-MSs) where the goal of 100% efficiency at large mass values can be achieved. Special emphasis will be given to this case, reporting on the great progress which has been achieved and which permits us to overcome the limitations of existing mass spectrometers represented by low detection efficiency at large masses and charge/mass ambiguity. Furthermore, such progress could represent a breakthrough in the field. In this review article we will introduce the device concept and detection principle, stressing the peculiarities of the nano-strip particle detector as well as its similarities with photon detectors. The development of parallel strip configuration is introduced and extensively discussed, since it has contributed to the significant progress of TOF-MS applications.
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