In this chapter we introduce the set of detector properties, common to most contemporary detectors, that should be determined for a complete characterization. Then we introduce methods for detector characterization, and finally we present practical recipes for calibration of non-PNR detectors and PNR detectors with full PNR capability. Although the recipes are based on specific underlying technologies (we use as examples single-photon avalanche diodes (SPADs) and TES detectors), the measurement algorithms are in general applicable to detectors with other principles of operation. A radically different approach is treating a detector as a black box, i.e. to pay no attention to the underlying principles of operation and approach the problem from the viewpoint of quantum measurement theory to characterize the detection of arbitrary input quantum states (i.e. find a detectors POVM), although in practice, even with such an approach some assumptions about the detectors operation are necessary to make the measurement problem tractable. Such a characterization is par- ticularly useful for PNR detectors with saturation. POVM measurements are addressed in chapter 9.
Single-Photon Generation and Detection: Physics and Applications