Abstract

We present a method for using the Hong–Ou–Mandel (HOM) interference technique to quantify photon indistinguishability within an associated uncertainty. The method allows the relative importance of various experimental factors affecting the HOM visibility to be identified, and enables the actual indistinguishability, with an associated uncertainty, to be estimated from experimentally measured quantities. A measurement equation has been derived that accounts for the non-ideal performance of the interferometer. The origin of each term of the equation is explained, along with procedures for their experimental evaluation and uncertainty estimation. These uncertainties are combined to give an overall uncertainty for the derived photon indistinguishability. The analysis was applied to measurements from an inter ferometer sourced with photon pairs from a parametric downconversion process. The measured photon indistinguishably was found to be 0.954±0.036 by using the prescribed method.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

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