Experimental demonstration of a predictable single photon source with variable photon flux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Aigar Vaigu

  • Geiland Porrovecchio
  • Xiao Liu Chu
  • Sarah Lindner
  • Marek Smid
  • Albert Manninen
  • Christoph Becher
  • Vahid Sandoghdar
  • Stephan Götzinger
  • Erkki Ikonen

Research units

  • Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light
  • Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg
  • Saarland University
  • VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
  • Czech Metrology Institute


We present a predictable single-photon source (SPS) based on a silicon vacancy centre in nanodiamond which is optically excited by a pulsed laser. At an excitation rate of 70 MHz the source delivers a photon flux large enough to be measured by a low optical flux detector (LOFD). The directly measured photon flux constitutes an absolute reference. By changing the repetition rate of the pulsed laser, we are able to change the photon flux of our SPS in a controllable way which in turn can act as a reference. The advantage of our method is that it does not require precise knowledge of the source efficiency, but the source is calibrated by the LOFD and can be used for detector responsivity characterizations at the few-photon level.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-223
Number of pages6
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • low optical flux detector, photon on demand, silicon vacancy centrer, single photon metrology, single photon sources

ID: 12959864