Measuring the quantum nature of light with a single source and a single detector

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G. A. Steudle, S. Schietinger, D. Höckel, S. N. Dorenbos, I. E. Zadeh, V. Zwiller, and O. Benson


Phys. Rev. A 86, 053814 (2012)

An elementary experiment in optics consists of a light source and a detector. Yet, if the source generates nonclassical correlations such an experiment is capable of unambiguously demonstrating the quantum nature of light. We realized such an experiment with a defect center in diamond and a superconducting detector. Previous experiments relied on more complex setups, such as the Hanbury Brown and Twiss configuration, where a beam splitter directs light to two photodetectors, creating the false impression that the beam splitter is a fundamentally required element. As an additional benefit, our results provide a simplification of the widely used photon-correlation techniques.