Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

High Accuracy Calibration of Photon-Counting Detectors



Sergey V. Polyakov, Michael Ware, Alan L. Migdall


We discuss a practical implementation of a photon-counting detector calibration using correlated photon pairs produced by parametric down-conversion. In this calibration scheme, the detection of a first photon triggers the measurement sequence aimed at detection of a second photon by a detector under test (DUT). We also describe measurements of radiant power with a photon counting detector, which is important for implementation of a conventional calibration technique based on detector substitution. In the experiment, we obtain a time-delay histogram of DUT detection events consisting of a correlated signal and a background. We present a method for separating the correlated signal from the background signal that appropriately handles complex properties of typical avalanche photo diode (APD) detectors. Also discussed are measurements of various APD properties, including countrate-dependent afterpulsing, delayed (by up to 10 ns) electronic detections and deadtime effects. We show that understanding of these is essential to perform an accurate calibration.
Proceedings Title
Optics East Conference| 2006| SPIE
Conference Dates
September 29-October 3, 2006
Conference Title
SPIE Proceedings


afterpulsing, avalanche photodiode, calibration, correlated photons, deadtime, down-conversion, single photon detector


Polyakov, S. , Ware, M. and Migdall, A. (2006), High Accuracy Calibration of Photon-Counting Detectors, Optics East Conference| 2006| SPIE, [online], (Accessed July 16, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created October 25, 2006, Updated November 10, 2018