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Thermal Noise and Correlations in Photon Detection

Zmuidzinas, Jonas (2003) Thermal Noise and Correlations in Photon Detection. Applied Optics, 42 (25). pp. 4989-5008. ISSN 0003-6935.

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The standard expressions for the noise that is due to photon fluctuations in thermal background radiation typically apply only for a single detector and are often strictly valid only for single-mode illumination. I describe a technique for rigorously calculating thermal photon noise, which allows for arbitrary numbers of optical inputs and detectors, multiple-mode illumination, and both internal and external noise sources. Several simple examples are given, and a general result is obtained for multimode detectors. The formalism uses scattering matrices, noise correlation matrices, and some fundamentals of quantum optics. The covariance matrix of the photon noise at the detector outputs is calculated and includes the Hanbury Brown and Twiss photon-bunching correlations. These correlations can be of crucial importance, and they explain why instruments such as autocorrelation spectrometers and pairwise-combined interferometers are competitive (and indeed common) at radio wavelengths but have a sensitivity disadvantage at optical wavelengths. The case of autocorrelation spectrometers is studied in detail.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:© 2003 Optical Society of America. Received 13 November 2002; revised manuscript received 15 May 2003. The author thanks J. Bock, H. Moseley, T.G. Phillips, R. Schieder, and R. Schoelkopf for helpful discussions and comments. This study was supported in part by NASA grant NAG5-8589 to Yale University, subcontract Y-99-0019 to Caltech. The author is grateful for the generous support of Alex Lidow, a Caltech Trustee.
Subject Keywords:Photon statistics; Quantum optics; Fluctuations, relaxations, and noise
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:ZMUao03
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Official Citation:J. Zmuidzinas, "Thermal Noise and Correlations in Photon Detection," Appl. Opt. 42, 4989-5008 (2003)
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8954
Deposited By: Archive Administrator
Deposited On:08 Oct 2007
Last Modified:29 Aug 2014 14:36

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