Abstract

We report the experimental realization of first- and second-order optical stochastic interferometry with single-photon Fock states and with a couple of photons generated by spontaneous parametric downconversion. The behavior of the constitutive element of the stochastic interferometer, the stochastic beam splitter, is theoretically described, both for first- and second-order interferometry. The theory predicts a reduction of the visibility from 1 to π/4 and to 1/2, respectively, for the two cases. These results are a direct consequence of the presence of Bose–Einstein correlations within the electromagnetic field. The visibility reduction obtained in the two experiments and their comparison with theoretical predictions are discussed in detail.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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