Avalanche diodes (ADs) are widely used to count photons in quantum interferometry. In reality they do not count photons, but click once when a bunch of photons arrives in a light pulse. We model this behavior in typical quantum optical interferometers like the Hong–Ou–Mandel beam splitter and the Mach–Zehnder interferometer, and compare it with the behavior of the photon-number-resolving (PNR) detector and the Hanbury-Brown–Twiss detector in these measuring devices. Our results show that quantum interferometric measurements with biphotons could be performed with single ADs, if the noise of the diodes could be reduced. Even a single PNR detector can be used in these interferometers, if the variance of the measurement is determined, since it reveals information about biphoton interference in contrast to the single detector counting rate.
© 2012 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: July 3, 2012
Revised Manuscript: October 1, 2012
Manuscript Accepted: October 1, 2012
Published: October 25, 2012
Kay Schmid, Erna Frins, Wolfgang Dultz, and Heidrun Schmitzer, "Modeling the avalanche diode as a photon detector in quantum optical interferometers," Appl. Opt. 51, 7560-7565 (2012)