Next Article in Journal
Spatial-Temporal Characteristic Analysis of Ethnic Toponyms Based on Spatial Information Entropy at the Rural Level in Northeast China
Previous Article in Journal
CDE++: Learning Categorical Data Embedding by Enhancing Heterogeneous Feature Value Coupling Relationships
Previous Article in Special Issue
Landauer Principle and General Relativity
Open AccessArticle

Photon Detection as a Process of Information Gain

Department of Applied Sciences and Mechatronics, Munich University of Applied Sciences, D-80335 Munich, Germany
Entropy 2020, 22(4), 392; https://doi.org/10.3390/e22040392
Received: 20 January 2020 / Revised: 25 March 2020 / Accepted: 26 March 2020 / Published: 30 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Landauer Principle: Meaning, Physical Roots and Applications)
Making use of the equivalence between information and entropy, we have shown in a recent paper that particles moving with a kinetic energy ε carry potential information i p o t ( ε , T ) = 1 ln ( 2 ) ε k B   T relative to a heat reservoir of temperature T . In this paper we build on this result and consider in more detail the process of information gain in photon detection. Considering photons of energy E p h and a photo-ionization detector operated at a temperature T D , we evaluate the signal-to-noise ratio S N ( E p h , T D ) for different detector designs and detector operation conditions and show that the information gain realized upon detection, i r e a l ( E p h , T D ) , always remains smaller than the potential information i p o t ( E p h , T D ) carried with the photons themselves, i.e.,: i r e a l ( E p h , T D ) = 1 ln ( 2 ) ln ( S N ( E p h , T D ) ) i p o t ( E p h , T D ) = 1 ln ( 2 ) E p h k B T D   . This result is shown to be generally valid for all kinds of technical photon detectors, which shows that i p o t ( E p h , T D ) can indeed be regarded as an intrinsic information content that is carried with the photons themselves. Overall, our results suggest that photon detectors perform as thermodynamic engines that incompletely convert potential information into realized information with an efficiency that is limited by the second law of thermodynamics and the Landauer energy bounds on information gain and information erasure. View Full-Text
Keywords: photon; photon detection; information gain; detection efficiency; figure of merit (FOM); Landauer principle photon; photon detection; information gain; detection efficiency; figure of merit (FOM); Landauer principle
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

Müller, J.G. Photon Detection as a Process of Information Gain. Entropy 2020, 22, 392.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Search more from Scilit
 
Search
Back to TopTop