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A simple autocorrelation method for thoroughly characterizing single-photon detectors



Michael Wayne, Joshua Bienfang, Sergey 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


Wayne, M. , Bienfang, J. and Polyakov, S. (2017), A simple autocorrelation method for thoroughly characterizing single-photon detectors, Optics Express, [online], (Accessed June 18, 2024)


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Created August 20, 2017, Updated October 12, 2021