A theoretical construct is presented for fourth-order interference between the signal and the idler beams of a parametric downconverter. Previous quantum treatments of fourth-order interference have employed correlated single-photon wave packets. The introduced approach, however, relies on Gaussian-state field correlations, which were previously used to characterize quadrature-noise squeezing produced by an optical parametric amplifier and nonclassical twin-beam generation in an optical parametric oscillator. Three principal benefits accrue from the correlation-function formalism. First, the quantum theory of fourth-order interference is unified with that for the other nonclassical effects of χ(2) interactions, i.e., squeezing and twin-beam production. Second, the semiclassical photodetection limit on Gaussian-state fourth-order interference is established; a purely quantum effect can be claimed at fringe visibilities substantially below the 50% level. Finally, both photon-coincidence counting (within the low-photon-flux regime) and intensity interferometry (in the high-photon-flux limit) are easily analyzed within a common framework.
© 1994 Optical Society of AmericaFull Article | PDF Article
H. J. Carmichael
J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 4(10) 1588-1603 (1987)
J. H. Shapiro, G. Saplakoglu, S.-T. Ho, P. Kumar, B. E. A. Saleh, and M. C. Teich
J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 4(10) 1604-1620 (1987)
J. G. Rarity and P. R. Tapster
J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 6(6) 1221-1226 (1989)