Sensitivity, dynamic range and detection efficiency are among the key figures of merit for 1550 nm wavelength detectors that find applications in communications, sensing, and imaging. Some fundamental material and device limits have added tremendous difficulties for a single device to achieve high sensitivity and dynamic range without significant trade-offs. We present a concept that can potentially overcome this performance bottleneck. Preliminary results have shown a sensitivity of 10 photons (six photons from the quantum limit) and a large dynamic range (in the sense that output increases monotonically with input). The concept opens up a new avenue for detecting single photons in non-Geiger-mode with near 100% detection efficiency.
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