Abstract

It is well known that photoelectric measurements yield information about the statistical behavior of fluctuating light beams. The probability of n photoelectrons being ejected, in a fixed time interval, from the photosensitive surface of the photoelectric detector, upon which the light beam is normally incident, is a linear (Poisson) transform of the probability density for the intensity of the beam. With the help of some plausible assumptions, the present analysis provides solutions to the problem of inverting the Poisson transform, thus determining the probability density for the intensity from experimentally obtained photocounting distributions. The effectiveness of the method is demonstrated by an actual inversion of a typical experimental counting distribution. The technique is of particular interest in connection with efforts to understand the statistical behavior of optical fields, especially of laser fields.

© 1967 Optical Society of America

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