A high-quantum-efficiency single-photon counting system has been developed. In this system, single photons were detected by a visible light photon counter operated at 6.9 K. The visible light photon counter is a solid state device that makes use of avalanches across a shallow impurity conduction band in silicon. Threefold tight shielding and viewports that worked as infrared blocking filters were used to eliminate the dark count caused by room-temperature radiation. Corrected quantum efficiencies as high as 88.2%±5% (at 694 nm) were observed, which we believe is the highest reported value for a single-photon detector. The dark count increased as the exponential of the quantum efficiency with changing temperature or bias voltage, and was 2.0×104 cps at the highest quantum efficiency. © 1999 American Institute of Physics.