Characterizing temporal distinguishability of an N -photon state by a generalized photon bunching effect with multiphoton interference

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Original languageEnglish
Article number043829
Journal / PublicationPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2008
Externally publishedYes


The complementarity principle of quantum mechanics relates qualitatively the visibility of quantum interference with path indistinguishability. A quantitative study was recently presented. Following the formalism of this study, we investigate another scheme for characterizing quantitatively the degree of temporal distinguishability of an N -photon state, based on constructive quantum interference between an N -photon and a single-photon state. This scheme is related to a generalized photon bunching effect in the form of a "bump," in contrast to the "dip" for the destructive interference effect in the previous study. Generalization to other more complicated cases is straightforward and is much simpler than for the scheme of destructive interference in the previous study. A degree of (in)distinguishability is defined and can be determined experimentally by the measurement of the size of the constructive multiphoton interference effect. © 2008 The American Physical Society.

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