Limitations on building single-photon-resolution detection devices

Pieter Kok

IEEE: Sel. Top. Quantum Electronics 9, 1498-1501 (2003)

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Single-photon resolution (SPR) detectors can tell the difference between incoming wave packets of n and n+1 photons. Such devices are especially important for linear optical quantum computing with projective measurements. However, in this paper I show that it is impossible to construct a photodetector with single-photon resolution when we are restricted to single-photon sources, linear optical elements and projective measurements with standard (non-photon-number discriminating) photodetectors. These devices include SPR detectors that sometimes fail to distinguish one- and two-photon inputs, but at the same time indicate this failure.

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