A primary radiation standard based on quantum nonlinear optics

Journal article

Publication Details

Author(s): Lemieux S, Giese E, Fickler R, Chekhova M, Boyd RW
Journal: Nature Physics
Publication year: 2019
Volume: 15
Journal issue: 6
Pages range: 529-+
ISSN: 1745-2473
eISSN: 1745-2481


The black body remains the most prominent source of light for absolute radiometry(1). Its main alternative, synchrotron radiation, requires costly and large facilities(2). Quantum optics offers a new radiometric source: parametric down-conversion (PDC), a nonlinear optical process, in which pairwise photon correlations enable absolute calibration of photodetectors(3-6). Since the emission rate crucially depends on the brightness of the electromagnetic field, quantum-mechanical fluctuations of the vacuum(7) can be seen as a seed of spontaneous PDC, and their amplitude is a natural radiometric standard. Thus, they allow for the calibration of the spectral radiance of light sources(8-11) by measuring the ratio between seeded and unseeded PDC. Here, we directly use the frequency spectrum of the electromagnetic vacuum to trigger spontaneous PDC and employ the generated light to infer the spectral response of a spectrometer over a broad spectral range. Then, we deduce the absolute quantum efficiency from the spectral shape of PDC in the high-gain regime, without relying on a seed or reference detector. Our results compare well with the ones obtained with a reference lamp, demonstrating a promising primary radiation standard.

FAU Authors / FAU Editors

Chekhova, Maria PD Dr.
Lehrstuhl für Experimentalphysik (Optik)

External institutions with authors

University of Ottawa

How to cite

Lemieux, S., Giese, E., Fickler, R., Chekhova, M., & Boyd, R.W. (2019). A primary radiation standard based on quantum nonlinear optics. Nature Physics, 15(6), 529-+. https://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41567-019-0447-2

Lemieux, Samuel, et al. "A primary radiation standard based on quantum nonlinear optics." Nature Physics 15.6 (2019): 529-+.


Last updated on 2019-19-06 at 08:23