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-Order Coherences of Chaotic and Coherent Optical States



Martin J. Stevens, Burm Baek, Eric Dauler, Andrew J. Kerman, Richard J. Molnar, Scott A. Hamilton, Karl Berggren, Richard P. Mirin, Sae Woo Nam


We demonstrate a new approach to measuring high-order temporal coherences that uses a four-element superconducting nanowire single-photon detector. The four independent, interleaved single-photonsensitive elements parse a single spatial mode of an optical beam over dimensions smaller than the minimum diffraction-limited spot size. Integrating this device with four-channel time-tagging electronics to generate multi-start, multi-stop histograms enables measurement of temporal coherences up to fourth order for a continuous range of all associated time delays. We observe high-order photon bunching from a chaotic, pseudo-thermal light source, measuring maximum third- and fourth-order coherence values of 5.87 ± 0.17 and 23.1 ± 1.8, respectively, in agreement with the theoretically predicted values of 3! = 6 and 4! = 24. Laser light, by contrast, is confirmed to have coherence values of approximately 1 for second, third and fourth orders at all time delays.
Optics Express


coherence, photon Correlations, single-photon detectors


Stevens, M. , Baek, B. , Dauler, E. , Kerman, A. , Molnar, R. , Hamilton, S. , Berggren, K. , Mirin, R. and Nam, S. (2010), High-Order Coherences of Chaotic and Coherent Optical States, Optics Express, [online], (Accessed May 21, 2024)


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

Created January 12, 2010, Updated February 19, 2017