Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Rather than buying a 4K-10K single photon detector, I was wondering if there were simple ways to build a simple single photon detector, of decent quality...

share|cite|improve this question
Perhaps you may want to talk to Jeremy O'Brien! – Ali Jul 25 '13 at 0:47
At ionizing energies, you build a Geiger-Müller tube. At optical or UV energies a PMT or MCP if you can tolerate the quantum efficiency, or use a solid state detector to get a better QE. The real problem here is that you have not specified the design task nearly well enough to get an answer. – dmckee Jul 25 '13 at 2:37

Geiger mode Avalanche Photo Diodes will do single photon counting at a few MHz with a little cooling.

20 years ago they were about $300 each from RCA with a fibre pigtail included ( see for a simple counting/drive circuit)

share|cite|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.