Licentiate Thesis: Generation and detection of non-classical photon states

This thesis intends to familiarize the reader with the concepts of photon statistics and correlations in quantum optics. Developing light sources that emit quantum states is central for the realization of quantum technologies. One important step in characterizing these sources is the measurement of field fluctuations and correlations, by coincidence measurements. The expectation value of a coincidence measurement, a simultaneous measurement of two intensities (or, more general, four fields), is represented by the fourth-order correlation function. The value of the correlation function, at zero delay between the detection of two photons, reveals important properties of the state to which they belonged, for example the fluctuations of the photon number. Since predictability is important for many applications, light sources emitting single photons are also characterized by the indistinguishability of consecutively emitted photons, or of two photons from separate emitters. In paper I we investigate blinking behaviour in quantum emitters, and its effect on the interference pattern and photon statistics with photons from two separate emitters. Blinking refers to an emitters transition into a non-emitting state, and subsequent transition back to an emitting state. We show that blinking can not be treated as linear loss, when measuring the fourth-order correlation function for two emitters in a Hong-Ou-Mandel setup. In general, a measurement of the fourth-order correlation function is robust to loss, which makes it a very practical tool. However, the relation between recorded coincidence counts and the correlation function is only direct in the limit of zero detection efficiency, and depends on the detection system. In paper II, we show that by adding a variable attenuation in the beam path, we can trace back to the ”true” value of the correlation function at zero quantum efficiency. This method improves accuracy in correlation measurements by decreasing a systematic error at the expense of an increased statistical error, which is easier to handle, extending the use of coincidence methods to classical and non-classical multi-photon states.