Fortunato Tito Arecchi

Photon statistics and laser fluctuations

1965: First experimental evidence of the statistical difference between a laser and a random field[23,28]. Obtained by photon statistics, and it included evidence of the bunching phenomenon for Gaussian sources already explored by Hanbury-Brown and Twiss, but also of the absence of such a bunching for a laser field[25]. These experiments provided a physical ground for Glauber's theory of coherence.
1966-67: Application of the above methods to laser fluctuations at threshold, yielding the first experimental evidence of critical fluctuations[34] and slowing down[37] in a "phase transition out of equilibrium", as called later.
1967Transient statistics of a laser switched from below to above threshold[33]: discovered a new phenomenon, namely, a transient enhancement of the photon variance.
1989: The time statistics permits an accurate calibration of the initial photon number giving rise to the amplified chain in a laser. This method has been called "statistical microscope"[173] because it provides measurement of a small photon number not by electron multiplication (as in usual photomultipliers) but by photon multiplication.

2002Quantum state reconstruction by tomography[299].

2003Nonlocal experiments on entangled photon pairs[302].


[Cooperative effects in quantum optics]  [Deterministic chaos in optics]  [Pattern formation in extended media]  [Complex phenomena and cognitive processes]