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Optical Society of America

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Journal of the Optical Society of America

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The accuracy of optical measurements at low light levels is limited by the quantum noise of the source and by the random nature of the interaction with the measured object. The source noise may be reduced by use of nonclassical photon-number squeezed light. This paper considers the use of two photon-correlated beams (generated, for example, by spontaneous parametric downconversion) to measure the optical transmittance of an object. The photons of each beam obey a random Poisson process, but are synchronized in time. One beam is used to probe the object while the other is used as a reference providing information on the realization of the random arrival of photons at the object. The additional information available by such measurement may be exploited to improve the accuracy of the measurement. Various estimators, including the maximum likelihood estimator, are considered and their performance is evaluated and compared with the measurement based on single-beam conventional (Poisson) source and maximally squeezed (fixed photon number) source. The performance advantage established in this paper depends on parameters such as the intensity of the source, the transmittance of the object, the quantum efficiency of the detectors, the background noise, and the degree of correlation of the photon numbers in the two beams.


Accepted version. Journal of the Optical Society of America : A, Vol. 16, No. 2 (1999): 348-358. DOI. © 1999 Optical Society of America. Used with permission.

Majeed M. Hayat was affiliated with University of Dayton at the time of publication.

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