There are a variety of technologies used for single-photon detection, and within each of these technologies there are multiple device designs. While they differ radically in their nature and operation, in all cases their response to and recovery from a detection event is a complex and temporally evolving process. This makes the state of the detector at any given time dependent on the device's prior history.
For many types of measurements, and particularly high-precision measurements, a detector's complex history dependence can lead to systematic errors that must be accounted for in analysis, and this sort of accounting requires a comprehensive knowledge of the detection system. For a typical non-photon-number-resolving detector accurate characterization includes multiple parameters beyond detection efficiency (afterpulsing, recovery time, etc.) We show that all heretofore explored properties can be described in a unified way with a generalized second-order model of a detector. While empirically proven effective, there are no experimental attempts that check the validity of this approach. We propose and experimentally demonstrate a simple validity test based on calculation of 2nd and 3rd order correlation functions from a single list of detection timestamps. We also accurately calibrate detectors used for this test.
Sergey V. Polyakov, Michael Wayne, and Joshua Bienfang, "A generalized second-order single-photon detector model and its experimental verification (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10547, Advances in Photonics of Quantum Computing, Memory, and Communication XI, 105470P (Presented at SPIE OPTO: January 31, 2018; Published: 14 March 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2287285.5751542595001.
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