Noise in homodyne and heterodyne detection

Opt Lett. 1983 Mar 1;8(3):177-9. doi: 10.1364/ol.8.000177.


Quantum-mechanical calculations of the mean-square fluctuation spectra in optical homodyning and heterodyning are made for arbitrary input and local-oscillator quantum states. In addition to the unavoidable quantum fluctuations, it is shown that excess noise from the local oscillator always affects homodyning and, when it is broadband, also heterodyning. Both the quantum and the excess noise of the local oscillator can be eliminated by coherent subtraction of the two outputs of a 50-50 beam splitter. This result also demonstrates the fact that the basic quantum noise in homodyning and heterodyning is signal quantum fluctuation, not local-oscillator shot noise.