Mar. 15, 2007, Alan Migdall, OSA Eastman Speaker

Handling Photons the Hard Way: One at a Time

While the vast majority of optical techniques, measurements, and technology create, use, and detect light in large quantities, there is growing interest in single-photon technology for a wide range of applications. These applications include, among others, high sensitivity chemical analysis, quantum information, and even high-speed communication with Mars. Along with this growth in interest is a fast growing toolbox of single-photon technology being developed, which in turn is bringing with it single-photon metrology needs. We present an overview of single photon technology and metrology efforts by our group and others.

Alan Migdall

 Alan Migdall received his PhD in physics from MIT and BS in mathematics and physics from U. of Maryland. He is a member of the Optical Technology Division at NIST, where he is involved in projects that use two-photon light sources and their entanglement for absolute metrology and quantum information applications. Traditionally these two-photon light sources have relied on parametric downconversion in bulk crystals, but efforts are moving toward using higher order nonlinearities made possible by new types of optical fibers. In the area of metrology, current work is underway to determine the ultimate uncertainty limits of the two-photon measurement method for both photon counting detector efficiency and spectral source radiance measurements. In quantum information, efforts include the development and characterization of improved single photon sources and high photon number entanglement, as well as the encouragement of related single-photon component technology. Previous work included the laser cooling of atoms, which resulted in the first trapping of a neutral atom. As a means of encouraging single photon technology, Migdall has organized a number of workshops, symposiums, and special issues on the topic.


DINNER reservations are required by noon, March 12, 2007, the Monday of the meeting. MEETING ONLY reservations are required by noon, March 15, 2007, the day of the meeting. 

Please make reservations on line . Reservations may also be left on the answering machine at 617.584.0266. We no longer have an email address for reservations due to SPAM. When making reservation requests, please provide the following information: 

  • DINNER AND MEETING or meeting only
  • Name(s) and membership status
  • Daytime phone number where you can be reached (in case of change or cancellation)


Best Western TLC in Waltham (Map to TLC)  .

Networking—5:45 PM, Dinner—6:30, Meeting—7:30 PM.


Dinner will include ---- and coffee, tea, or milk.

Vegetarian option available on request 

Dinner Prices:

Members and their guests$25.00 each
Non-members$30.00 (See NOTE Below)

General Information on NES/OSA Meetings

Cancellations and No-shows:

If the meeting must be canceled for any reason, we will try to call you at the phone number you leave with your reservation. Official notice of cancellation will be on our answering machine.

We have to pay for the dinners reserved as of the Tuesday before the meeting, so no-shows eat into our cash reserve. If you will not be able to attend, please let us know as early as possible. Otherwise, no-shows will be billed.

Membership Rates:

Regular members$15.00
Student membersfree

NOTE: The extra $5.00 of the non-member dinner fee can be used toward membership dues if the nonmember joins and pays dues for the current year at the meeting.