Measuring the photon coalescence time window in the continuous-wave regime for resonantly driven semiconductor quantum dots

Phys Rev Lett. 2015 Feb 13;114(6):067401. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.114.067401. Epub 2015 Feb 10.


We revisit Mandel's notion that the degree of coherence equals the degree of indistinguishability by performing Hong-Ou-Mandel- (HOM-)type interferometry with single photons elastically scattered by a cw resonantly driven excitonic transition of an InAs/GaAs epitaxial quantum dot. We present a comprehensive study of the temporal profile of the photon coalescence phenomenon which shows that photon indistinguishability can be tuned by the excitation laser source, in the same way as their coherence time. A new figure of merit, the coalescence time window, is introduced to quantify the delay below which two photons are indistinguishable. This criterion sheds new light on the interpretation of HOM experiments under cw excitation, particularly when photon coherence times are longer than the temporal resolution of the detectors. The photon indistinguishability is extended over unprecedented time scales beyond the detectors' response time, thus opening new perspectives to conducting quantum optics with single photons and conventional detectors.