Abstract

Recent work on the ultimate sensitivity of radiation detectors is reviewed and discussed. It is shown that the validity of Clark Jones’ treatment is more restricted than was supposed. By an extension of his argument a general method is obtained giving the ultimate sensitivity throughout the region of the electromagnetic spectrum in which the limit is set by temperature radiation. It is found that Clark Jones’ method, suitably interpreted, is a useful approximation in most practical cases. The method is applied to a number of detectors. The well-known result for the noise level in a radio antenna is confirmed. The performance of certain photo-multipliers and photo-conductive infrared cells is assessed. It is found that the sensitivities of recent lead telluride cells closely approach the ultimate limit corresponding to room temperature. Consequently, improvements to these cells cannot give rise to substantially increased sensitivity unless the cells are used in cooled enclosures.

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  2. J. G. Daunt—unpublished report circulated by Admiralty.
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  4. R. Clark Jones, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 37, No. 11, 879 (1947).
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  9. W. Schottky, Ann. d. Physik 57, 541 (1918)
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  12. S. Dushman, Rev. Mod. Phys. 2, 382 (1930),
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  18. O. Rice, Bell Sys. Tech. j. 24, 46 (1945).
  19. E. T. Whittaker and G. Robinson, Calculus of Observations (Blackie and Son Limited, London, 1924) page 182.
  20. R. E. Burgess, Proc. Phys. Soc. 53, 293 (1941).
  21. E. F. Daly, private communication.

Baxter, A. S.

A. S. Baxter, private communication.

Burgess, R. E.

R. E. Burgess, Proc. Phys. Soc. 53, 293 (1941).

Daly, E. F.

E. F. Daly, private communication.

Daunt, J. G.

J. G. Daunt—unpublished report circulated by Admiralty.

Dushman, S.

S. Dushman, Rev. Mod. Phys. 2, 382 (1930),

Engstrom, R.

R. Engstrom, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 37, No. 6, 421 (1947).

Fellgett, P. B.

P. B. Fellgett, Proc. Phys. Soc. 62B, 351 (1949).

Fowler, R. H.

R. H. Fowler, Statistical Mechanics (Cambridge University Press, London, 1929), Eq. 1435.

Golay, M.

M. Golay, Rev. Sci. Inst. 18, 347 (1947).

Jones, R. Clark

R. Clark Jones, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 37, No. 11, 879 (1947).

Lewis, W. B.

W. B. Lewis, Proc. Phys. Soc. 59, 34 (1947).

Milatz, J. M. W.

J. M. W. Milatz and H. A. Van der Velden, Physica 10, 369 (1943).

Neiman, M. S.

M. S. Neiman, Proc. I.R.E. 667 (December, 1943).

Nyquist, H.

H. Nyquist, Phys. Rev. 32, 110 (1928).

Rice, O.

O. Rice, Bell Sys. Tech. j. 24, 46 (1945).

Robinson, G.

E. T. Whittaker and G. Robinson, Calculus of Observations (Blackie and Son Limited, London, 1924) page 182.

Schott, W.

W. Schottky, Ann. d. Physik 57, 541 (1918)

Simpson, O.

O. Simpson, Proc. Phys. Soc. 61, 486 (1948).

Van der Velden, H. A.

J. M. W. Milatz and H. A. Van der Velden, Physica 10, 369 (1943).

Whittaker, E. T.

E. T. Whittaker and G. Robinson, Calculus of Observations (Blackie and Son Limited, London, 1924) page 182.

Other

J. M. W. Milatz and H. A. Van der Velden, Physica 10, 369 (1943).

J. G. Daunt—unpublished report circulated by Admiralty.

M. Golay, Rev. Sci. Inst. 18, 347 (1947).

R. Clark Jones, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 37, No. 11, 879 (1947).

R. H. Fowler, Statistical Mechanics (Cambridge University Press, London, 1929), Eq. 1435.

P. B. Fellgett, Proc. Phys. Soc. 62B, 351 (1949).

H. Nyquist, Phys. Rev. 32, 110 (1928).

W. B. Lewis, Proc. Phys. Soc. 59, 34 (1947).

W. Schottky, Ann. d. Physik 57, 541 (1918)

International Critical Tables, first edition, Vol. 1, p. 92.

R. Engstrom, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 37, No. 6, 421 (1947).

S. Dushman, Rev. Mod. Phys. 2, 382 (1930),

A. S. Baxter, private communication.

Sutherland, Blackwell, and Fellgett, Nature 158, 873 (1946).

Simpson, Sutherland, and Blackwell, Nature 161, 281 (1948).

O. Simpson, Proc. Phys. Soc. 61, 486 (1948).

M. S. Neiman, Proc. I.R.E. 667 (December, 1943).

O. Rice, Bell Sys. Tech. j. 24, 46 (1945).

E. T. Whittaker and G. Robinson, Calculus of Observations (Blackie and Son Limited, London, 1924) page 182.

R. E. Burgess, Proc. Phys. Soc. 53, 293 (1941).

E. F. Daly, private communication.

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