Thermal biphotons

Ohad Lib, Yaron Bromberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The observation of the Hanbury Brown and Twiss (HBT) effect with thermal light marked the birth of quantum optics. All the thermal sources considered to date did not feature quantum signatures of light, as they consisted of independent emitters that emit uncorrelated photons. Here, we propose and demonstrate an incoherent light source based on phase-randomized spatially entangled photons, which we coin thermal biphotons. We show that in contrast to thermal light, the width of the HBT peak for thermal biphotons is determined by their correlations, leading to violation of the Siegert relation and breakdown of the speckle-fluctuations interpretation. We further provide an alternative interpretation of the results by drawing a connection between the HBT effect and coherent backscattering of light. Finally, we discuss the role of spatial entanglement in the observed results, deriving a relation between the Schmidt number and the degree of violation of the Siegert relation under the double-Gaussian approximation of spontaneous parametric down conversion. Our work reflects new insights on the coherence properties of thermal light in the presence of entanglement, paving the way for entanglement certification using disorder averaged measurements.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number031301
JournalAPL Photonics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2022

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