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Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Vol. 6, Iss. 2 — Feb. 1, 1967
  • pp: 245–250

Heterodyne and Photon-Counting Receivers for Optical Communications

D. L. Fried and J. B. Seidman  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 6, Issue 2, pp. 245-250 (1967)

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The relative performance of an optical heterodyne receiver and a photon-counting receiver are compared. These conditions under which the two types of systems perform equally well are defined. Background noise is shown to be an almost negligible consideration. Detector noise is seen to be a much more severe problem. It is concluded that for wavelengths below 1 μ, photon-counting reception is preferred because of the availability of photoemissive detectors. For wavelengths greater than 3 μ, detector noise considerations are so severe that it is unlikely that photon counting will be competitive with heterodyne detection. The type of detection preferred in the 1–3 μ range is shown to be a matter of detector development.

© 1967 Optical Society of America

Original Manuscript: June 16, 1966
Published: February 1, 1967

D. L. Fried and J. B. Seidman, "Heterodyne and Photon-Counting Receivers for Optical Communications," Appl. Opt. 6, 245-250 (1967)

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  1. B. M. Oliver, Proc. Inst. Radio Engrs. 49, 1960 (1961).
  2. H. A. Haus, C. H. Townes, Proc. Inst. Radio Engrs. 50, 1544 (1962).
  3. S. Gardner, IEEE International Convention Record(1964), Part 6, p. 337.
  4. D. L. Fried, Proc. IEEE, 55, No. 1 (1967). [CrossRef]
  5. R. C. Jones, Proc. Inst. Radio Engrs. 47, 1498 (1959).
  6. At least one manufacturer finds it convenient to specify the capability of his filters in terms of a percentage bandwidth for filters covering a wide range of wavelengths. [δ= 10−3for 0.32 μ< λ < 15.5 μ; Spectrum Systems, Inc., Appl. Opt. 5, No. 5, A7 (1966).]
  7. E. E. Bell, L. Eisner, J. Young, R. A. Oetjen, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 50, 1313 (1960). [CrossRef]
  8. N. Ginsburg, W. R. Fredrickson, R. Paulson, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 50, 1176 (1960). [CrossRef]
  9. F. Moller, Appl. Opt. 3, 157 (1964). [CrossRef]
  10. D. S. Bayley has computed sky spectral brightness based on Allen’s data (C. W. Allen, “Astrophysical Quantities”, Univ. of London, London, 1955) for transmission of a clear atmosphere and the assumptions that the sun is a blackbody at 5700°K, and, with the sun at the zenith, the sky’s spectral radiance is uniform over the hemisphere. Details will be found in ASTIA Document No. AD261583, Table 5-I.
  11. This type of fine tracking can be achieved in the obvious manner for a photon-counting system by using an image dissector. It has been shown [W. S. Read, D. L. Fried, Proc. IEEE 51, 1787 (1963)] that an image dissector can be used for the same purpose in an optical heterodyne receiver. [CrossRef]
  12. E. L. O’Neill, Introduction to Statistical Optics (Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., Inc., Reading, Mass., 1963), p. 87.
  13. D. L. Fried, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 56, 1372 (1966). [CrossRef]

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