Systems, articles, and methods are provided related to nanowire-based detectors, which can be used for light detection in, for example, single-photon detectors. In one aspect, a variety of detectors are provided, for example one including an electrically superconductive nanowire or nanowires constructed and arranged to interact with photons to produce a detectable signal. In another aspect, fabrication methods are provided, including techniques to precisely reproduce patterns in subsequently formed layers of material using a relatively small number of fabrication steps. By precisely reproducing patterns in multiple material layers, one can form electrically insulating materials and electrically conductive materials in shapes such that incoming photons are redirected toward a nearby electrically superconductive materials (e.g., electrically superconductive nanowire(s)). For example, one or more resonance structures (e.g., comprising an electrically insulating material), which can trap electromagnetic radiation within its boundaries, can be positioned proximate the nanowire(s). The resonance structure can include, at its boundaries, electrically conductive material positioned proximate the electrically superconductive nanowire such that light that would otherwise be transmitted through the sensor is redirected toward the nanowire(s) and detected. In addition, electrically conductive material can be positioned proximate the electrically superconductive nanowire (e.g. at the aperture of the resonant structure), such that light is directed by scattering from this structure into the nanowire.
This invention was made with government support under Grant No. DE-SC0001088 awarded by the Department of Energy and Grant No. NSF0823778 awarded by the National Science Foundation and Contract No. NBCHC00671 awarded the Department of Interor. The government has certain rights in this invention.