Quantum beat of two single photons

Phys Rev Lett. 2004 Aug 13;93(7):070503. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.93.070503. Epub 2004 Aug 13.


The interference of two single photons impinging on a beam splitter is measured in a time-resolved manner. Using long photons of different frequencies emitted from an atom-cavity system, a quantum beat with a visibility close to 100% is observed in the correlation between the photodetections at the output ports of the beam splitter. The time dependence of the beat amplitude reflects the coherence properties of the photons. Most remarkably, simultaneous photodetections are never observed, so that a temporal filter allows one to obtain perfect two-photon coalescence even for nonperfect photons.