Single-Photon Detectors from UV to IR

Designed and manufactured by Becker & Hickl - bh offers a wide range of detectors including photomultiplier tubes (PMC), hybrid photo detectors (HPM), single-photon avalanche diodes (SPAD) for the IR range as well as multi-channel- and multi-spectral detectors. Time rersolution for the fastest detectors is in the sub-20-ps range (full width at half-maximum of the IRF). The detection range covers the wavelengths from UV to the IR, with time resolution spanning from smaller than 20 ps to a few 100 ps. The detectors are suitable for fluorescence-decay recording by classic TCSPC, anti-bunching, FCS, FLIM, PLIM and other applications. bh guarantee that their TCSPC modules work with any photon counting detector, including superconducting NbN detectors,  and reach the shortes possible IRF width. Please see The bh TCSPC Handbook, chapter 'Detectors for TCSPC'. Choose your detector now:


Hybrid Photon Detectors


Cooled fast PMT Modules


Multi-Channel- / Multi-Spectral Detectors


Infrared  SPAD Detector

(ID Qube NIR / ID-230)

Super Conducting NbN Detector

(Scontel Detector)

Wavelength Range / nm 220 – 900 185 – 900 300 – 820 900 – 1700 500 – 2500
Transit Time Spread typ.Values (TCSPC IRF) / ps Down to 20 130 180 150 Down to 18
Detection Efficiency (max.) 45 % at 500 nm 43 % at 350 nm

45 % at 540 nm

25 % at 1550 nm 85 % from 700 nm to 1300 nm
Size of Active Area 3 mm, 6 mm 8 mm

Linear (0.8 × 16) mm,

Quadratic (4 by 4) mm



Hybrid Single-Photon Detectors


Cooled Fast PMT Modules


Small Cooled High Speed PMT Modules


Multichannel TCSPC Detectors

PML-16-1-C / PML-16-100-C / PML-16-GaAsP

Multispectral TCSPC Detectors


ID Qube NIR Free-Running


Infrared InGaAs/InP SPAD Detector


Superconducting NbN Detector

Scontel Detector
Are you looking for documentation of former products? Please check Discontinued Products

Table of Content


Revolutionizing Single Photon Detection: Classical PMTs and Quasi Afterpulsing-Free Hybrid Detectors

Single photon detectors are indispensable in cutting-edge applications like quantum communication and biomedical imaging. In this article, we explore two prominent types of single photon detectors: classical photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) and hybrid detectors. Discover how hybrid detectors, with their quasi afterpulsing-free capabilities, have revolutionized the field of single photon detection.


Classical Photomultiplier Tubes (PMTs):

For decades, classical photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) have been at the forefront of single photon detection technology. PMTs employ the photoelectric effect to convert incoming photons into an electrical signal. These devices consist of a vacuum tube containing a photocathode, a series of dynodes, and an anode.

When a photon strikes the photocathode, it releases an electron through the photoelectric effect. An electric field accelerates the electron towards the dynodes, which act as electron multipliers. The multiplication process continues, resulting in a significant current that is collected by the anode. This amplified current signifies the detection of a single photon.

Classical PMTs offer exceptional sensitivity, high quantum efficiency, and rapid response times, making them suitable for a wide range of applications. However, one limitation of PMTs is the occurrence of afterpulsing, where false signals can occur after detecting a photon. This phenomenon can impact measurement accuracy.

Hybrid Detectors: Quasi Afterpulsing-Free Capabilities

Hybrid detectors, also known as hybrid photodetectors or hybrid photomultiplier tubes (HPMTs), have emerged as a groundbreaking alternative to classical PMTs. These detectors combine the strengths of PMTs and solid-state devices, overcoming the limitations associated with each technology.

Hybrid detectors feature a similar photocathode-dynode configuration as PMTs but integrate a semiconductor-based amplifier stage instead of an anode. This integration allows for the inclusion of a compact and low-voltage avalanche photodiode (APD) or a silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) within the same device.

The APD or SiPM serves as a front-end photon counting module, converting incident photons into an electrical signal. This signal is subsequently amplified and processed by the following semiconductor amplifier stage. Hybrid detectors offer outstanding photon detection efficiency, low noise levels, compact form factors, and reduced sensitivity to magnetic fields compared to classical PMTs.

One remarkable advantage of hybrid detectors is their quasi afterpulsing-free capabilities. Afterpulsing is significantly reduced or eliminated in hybrid detectors, ensuring accurate and reliable photon detection. Quasi afterpulsing-free hybrid detectors minimize false signals that may occur after detecting a photon, enhancing measurement accuracy and reliability.

The development of quasi afterpulsing-free hybrid detectors has revolutionized the field of single photon detection. These detectors are particularly advantageous in applications that require precise and low-noise measurements, such as quantum cryptography, fluorescence lifetime imaging, and time-correlated single photon counting.


The field of single photon detection has been revolutionized by classical PMTs and hybrid detectors. While PMTs offer exceptional sensitivity, hybrid detectors combine the advantages of PMTs and solid-state devices. Their quasi afterpulsing-free capabilities ensure accurate and reliable photon detection, making them vital in advancing quantum technologies and other photonics applications.


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