Determination of the Average Time Interval Between Two Photons with Sub-Optical Period Accuracy

Z.Y. Ou and L. Mandel

The basic idea is to mix the two photons to be studied with a beam splitter, and then to detect the reflected and transmitted photons with two photodetectors in coincidence. A variable time delay Τ between the photons is introduced by moving the beam splitter slightly toward one or the other detector. If the two incident photons happen to be in the form of two identical wave packets, then destructive interference of the two-photon probability amplitude at the beam splitter leads to zero photon coincidences when the two wave packets overlap in time (Τ = 0).

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