Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

A simple autocorrelation method for thoroughly characterizing single-photon detectors



Michael A. Wayne, Joshua C. Bienfang, Sergey V. Polyakov


We introduce and demonstrate a simple and highly sensitive method for characterizing single- photon detectors. This method is based on analyzing multi-order correlations among time-tagged detection events from a device under calibrated continuous-wave illumination. First- and second-order properties such as detection efficiency, dark count rate, afterpulse probability, dead time, and reset behavior are measured with high accuracy from a single data set, as well as higher-order properties such as higher-order afterpulse effects. While the technique is applicable to any type of click/no-click detector, we apply it to two different single-photon avalanche diodes, and we find that it reveals a heretofore unreported afterpulse effect due to detection events that occur during the device reset.
Optics Express


Single photon detector, advanced statistics, quantum optics
Created August 21, 2017, Updated November 10, 2018