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Journal of the Optical Society of America B

Journal of the Optical Society of America B


  • Editor: Henry van Driel
  • Vol. 29, Iss. 8 — Aug. 1, 2012
  • pp: 2066–2073

Algorithm for finding clusters with a known distribution and its application to photon-number resolution using a superconducting transition-edge sensor

Zachary H. Levine, Thomas Gerrits, Alan L. Migdall, Daniel V. Samarov, Brice Calkins, Adriana E. Lita, and Sae Woo Nam  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA B, Vol. 29, Issue 8, pp. 2066-2073 (2012)

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Improving photon-number resolution of single-photon sensitive detectors is important for many applications, as is extending the range of such detectors. Here we seek improved resolution for a particular superconducting transition-edge sensor (TES) through better processing of the TES output waveforms. With that aim, two algorithms to extract number resolution from TES output waveforms are compared. The comparison is done by processing waveform data sets from a TES illuminated at nine illumination levels by a pulsed laser at 1550 nm. The algorithms are used to sort the individual output waveforms and then create clusters associated with individual photon numbers. The first uses a dot product with the waveform mean (for each illumination level), while the second uses K-means clustering modified to include knowledge of the Poisson distribution. The first algorithm is shown to distinguish adjacent peaks associated with photon numbers up to 19, whereas the second algorithm distinguishes photon numbers up to 23, using the same data.

OCIS Codes
(040.5570) Detectors : Quantum detectors
(120.5630) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Radiometry

ToC Category:

Original Manuscript: May 8, 2012
Manuscript Accepted: June 21, 2012
Published: July 20, 2012

Zachary H. Levine, Thomas Gerrits, Alan L. Migdall, Daniel V. Samarov, Brice Calkins, Adriana E. Lita, and Sae Woo Nam, "Algorithm for finding clusters with a known distribution and its application to photon-number resolution using a superconducting transition-edge sensor," J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 29, 2066-2073 (2012)

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  29. Curves were classified as containing background photons if the initial or final voltage was above 16.8 mV, or if there was a peak of at least 16.8 mV after a time of 3.4 μs. The number of curves removed was consistent with the background rate given above.
  30. The mention of commercial products does not imply endorsement by the authors’ institutions nor does it imply that they are the best available for the purpose.

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