Joint spectral characterization of photon-pair sources

Kevin Zielnicki, Karina Garay-Palmett, Daniel Cruz-Delgado, Hector Cruz-Ramirez, Michael F. O’Boyle, Bin Fang, Virginia O. Lorenz, Alfred B. U’Ren, Paul G. Kwiat

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The ability to determine the joint spectral properties of photon pairs produced by the processes of spontaneous parametric downconversion (SPDC) and spontaneous four-wave mixing (SFWM) is crucial for guaranteeing the usability of heralded single photons and polarization-entangled pairs for multi-photon protocols. In this paper, we compare six different techniques that yield either a characterization of the joint spectral intensity or of the closely related purity of heralded single photons. These six techniques include: (i) scanning monochromator measurements, (ii) a variant of Fourier transform spectroscopy designed to extract the desired information exploiting a resource-optimized technique, (iii) dispersive fibre spectroscopy, (iv) stimulated-emission-based measurement, (v) measurement of the second-order correlation function g(2) for one of the two photons, and (vi) two-source Hong–Ou–Mandel interferometry. We discuss the relative performance of these techniques for the specific cases of a SPDC source designed to be factorable and SFWM sources of varying purity, and compare the techniques’ relative advantages and disadvantages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1141-1160
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Modern Optics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jun 7 2018


  • Nonlinear optics
  • joint spectral intensity
  • purity
  • quantum optics
  • spontaneous four-wave mixing
  • spontaneous parametric downconversion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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