General modeling framework for quantum photodetectors

Presenting Author: Steve Young, Sandia National Laboratories
Contributing Author(s): Mohan Sarovar, François Léonard

Photodetection plays a key role in basic science and technology, with exquisite performance having been achieved down to the single photon level. Further improvements in photodetectors would open new possibilities across a broad range of scientific disciplines, and enable new types of applications. However, it is still unclear what is possible in terms of ultimate performance, and what properties are needed for a photodetector to achieve such performance. Here we present a general modeling framework for single- and few- photon detectors wherein the entire detection process - including the photon field, environmental coupling, and measurement output - is treated holistically and quantum mechanically. The formalism naturally handles field states with single or multiple photons as well as arbitrary detector configurations. It is explicitly constructed to provide performance characteristics and naturally furnishes a mathematical definition of ideal photodetector performance. The framework reveals how specific photodetector architectures and physical realizations introduce limitations and tradeoffs for various performance metrics, providing guidance for optimization and design.

(Session 4 : Sunday from 3:45pm - 4:15pm)


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