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Journal Article

Superthermal photon bunching in terms of simple probability distributions


Leymann,  Heinrich Alexander Magnus
Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Max Planck Society;

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Lettau, T., Leymann, H. A. M., Melcher, B., & Wiersig, J. (2018). Superthermal photon bunching in terms of simple probability distributions. Physical Review A, 97(5): 053835. doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.97.053835.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-BA05-8
We analyze the second-order photon autocorrelation function g((2)) with respect to the photon probability distribution and discuss the generic features of a distribution that results in superthermal photon bunching [g((2))(0) > 2]. Superthermal photon bunching has been reported for a number of optical microcavity systems that exhibit processes such as superradiance or mode competition. We show that a superthermal photon number distribution cannot be constructed from the principle of maximum entropy if only the intensity and the second-order autocorrelation are given. However, for bimodal systems, an unbiased superthermal distribution can be constructed from second-order correlations and the intensities alone. Our findings suggest modeling superthermal single-mode distributions by a mixture of a thermal and a lasinglike state and thus reveal a generic mechanism in the photon probability distribution responsible for creating superthermal photon bunching. We relate our general considerations to a physical system, i.e., a (single-emitter) bimodal laser, and show that its statistics can be approximated and understood within our proposed model. Furthermore, the excellent agreement of the statistics of the bimodal laser and our model reveals that the bimodal laser is an ideal source of bunched photons, in the sense that it can generate statistics that contain no other features but the superthermal bunching.