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Physics  2011 

Self consistent, absolute calibration technique for photon number resolving detectors

DOI: 10.1364/OE.19.023249

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Well characterized photon number resolving detectors are a requirement for many applications ranging from quantum information and quantum metrology to the foundations of quantum mechanics. This prompts the necessity for reliable calibration techniques at the single photon level. In this paper we propose an innovative absolute calibration technique for photon number resolving detectors, using a pulsed heralded photon source based on parametric down conversion. The technique, being absolute, does not require reference standards and is independent upon the performances of the heralding detector. The method provides the results of quantum efficiency for the heralded detector as a function of detected photon numbers. Furthermore, we prove its validity by performing the calibration of a Transition Edge Sensor based detector, a real photon number resolving detector that has recently demonstrated its effectiveness in various quantum information protocols.


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