Publications in Scientific Journals:
W. Leeb, A. Poppe, E. Hammel, J. Alves, M. Brunner, S. Meingast:
"Single-Photon Technique for the Detection of Periodic Extraterrestrial Laser Pulses";
To draw humankind´s attention to its existence, an extraterrestrial civilization could well direct periodic laser pulses toward Earth. We developed a technique capable of detecting a quasi-periodic light signal with an average of less than one photon per pulse within a measurement time of a few tens of milliseconds in the presence of the radiation emitted by an exoplanet´s host star. Each of the electronic events produced by one or more single-photon avalanche detectors is tagged with precise time-of-arrival information and stored. From this
we compute a histogram displaying the frequency of event-time differences in classes with bin widths on the order of a nanosecond. The existence of periodic laser pulses manifests itself in histogram peaks regularly spaced at multiples of the-a priori unknown-pulse repetition frequency. With laser sources simulating both the pulse
source and the background radiation, we tested a detection system in the laboratory at a wavelength of 850 nm. We present histograms obtained from various recorded data sequences with the number of photons per pulse, the background photons per pulse period, and the recording time as main parameters. We then simulated a periodic signal hypothetically generated on a planet orbiting a G2V-type star (distance to Earth 500 light-years)and show that the technique is capable of detecting the signal even if the received pulses carry as little as one photon on average on top of the star´s background light.
"Official" electronic version of the publication (accessed through its Digital Object Identifier - DOI)
Electronic version of the publication:
Created from the Publication Database of the Vienna University of Technology.