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Title: ON THE USE OF SHOT NOISE FOR PHOTON COUNTING

Abstract

Lieu et al. have recently claimed that it is possible to substantially improve the sensitivity of radio-astronomical observations. In essence, their proposal is to make use of the intensity of the photon shot noise as a measure of the photon arrival rate. Lieu et al. provide a detailed quantum-mechanical calculation of a proposed measurement scheme that uses two detectors and conclude that this scheme avoids the sensitivity degradation that is associated with photon bunching. If correct, this result could have a profound impact on radio astronomy. Here I present a detailed analysis of the sensitivity attainable using shot-noise measurement schemes that use either one or two detectors, and demonstrate that neither scheme can avoid the photon bunching penalty. I perform both semiclassical and fully quantum calculations of the sensitivity, obtaining consistent results, and provide a formal proof of the equivalence of these two approaches. These direct calculations are furthermore shown to be consistent with an indirect argument based on a correlation method that establishes an independent limit to the sensitivity of shot-noise measurement schemes. Furthermore, these calculations are directly applicable to the regime of interest identified by Lieu et al. Collectively, these results conclusively demonstrate that the photon-bunching sensitivity penaltymore » applies to shot-noise measurement schemes just as it does to ordinary photon counting, in contradiction to the fundamental claim made by Lieu et al. The source of this contradiction is traced to a logical fallacy in their argument.« less

Authors:
 [1]
  1. Division of Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy, California Institute Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22521972
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Astrophysical Journal
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 813; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Journal ID: ISSN 0004-637X
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; CORRELATIONS; COSMIC PHOTONS; NOISE; QUANTUM MECHANICS; RADIOASTRONOMY; SEMICLASSICAL APPROXIMATION; SENSITIVITY

Citation Formats

Zmuidzinas, Jonas. ON THE USE OF SHOT NOISE FOR PHOTON COUNTING. United States: N. p., 2015. Web. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/813/1/17.
Zmuidzinas, Jonas. ON THE USE OF SHOT NOISE FOR PHOTON COUNTING. United States. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/813/1/17.
Zmuidzinas, Jonas. Sun . "ON THE USE OF SHOT NOISE FOR PHOTON COUNTING". United States. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/813/1/17.
@article{osti_22521972,
title = {ON THE USE OF SHOT NOISE FOR PHOTON COUNTING},
author = {Zmuidzinas, Jonas},
abstractNote = {Lieu et al. have recently claimed that it is possible to substantially improve the sensitivity of radio-astronomical observations. In essence, their proposal is to make use of the intensity of the photon shot noise as a measure of the photon arrival rate. Lieu et al. provide a detailed quantum-mechanical calculation of a proposed measurement scheme that uses two detectors and conclude that this scheme avoids the sensitivity degradation that is associated with photon bunching. If correct, this result could have a profound impact on radio astronomy. Here I present a detailed analysis of the sensitivity attainable using shot-noise measurement schemes that use either one or two detectors, and demonstrate that neither scheme can avoid the photon bunching penalty. I perform both semiclassical and fully quantum calculations of the sensitivity, obtaining consistent results, and provide a formal proof of the equivalence of these two approaches. These direct calculations are furthermore shown to be consistent with an indirect argument based on a correlation method that establishes an independent limit to the sensitivity of shot-noise measurement schemes. Furthermore, these calculations are directly applicable to the regime of interest identified by Lieu et al. Collectively, these results conclusively demonstrate that the photon-bunching sensitivity penalty applies to shot-noise measurement schemes just as it does to ordinary photon counting, in contradiction to the fundamental claim made by Lieu et al. The source of this contradiction is traced to a logical fallacy in their argument.},
doi = {10.1088/0004-637X/813/1/17},
journal = {Astrophysical Journal},
issn = {0004-637X},
number = 1,
volume = 813,
place = {United States},
year = {2015},
month = {11}
}