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Intensity interferometry with more than two detectors?

Abstract

The original intensity interferometers were instruments built in the 1950s and 60s by Hanbury Brown and collaborators, achieving milli-arcsec resolutions in visible light without optical-quality mirrors. They exploited a then-novel physical effect, now known as HBT correlation after the experiments of Hanbury Brown and Twiss, and nowadays considered fundamental in quantum optics. Now a new generation of inten- sity interferometers is being designed, raising the possibility of measuring intensity correlations with three or more detectors. Quantum optics predicts some interesting features in higher-order HBT. One is that HBT correlation increases combinatorially with the number of detectors. Signal to noise considerations suggest, that many-detector HBT correlations would be mea- surable for bright masers, but very difficult for thermal sources. But the more modest three-detector HBT correlation seems measurable for bright stars, and would provide image information (namely the bispectrum) not present in standard HBT.Comment: 7 pages, 2 figures, Accepted for publication in MNRA

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