People can sense single photons

Discussion in 'General Science' started by nsaspook, Jul 31, 2016.

  1. nsaspook

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 27, 2009
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  2. jpanhalt

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    Jan 18, 2008
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    Fifty years ago, it was generally assumed in our laboratory that humans could sense one or two photons. That was basically the gold standard to which we compared our LN2-cooled photomultiplier tubes.

    Verification of that is nice to read about.

    John
     
  3. crutschow

    Expert

    Mar 14, 2008
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    I've read that the white noise you hear in an anechoic chamber is the sound of the air molecules bouncing off the ear drum so the ear has pretty amazing sensitivity also.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2016
  4. MrAl

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    Jun 17, 2014
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    Hi again,

    Maybe we need to reduce the gain? :)

    This is a good example where you mentioned that sometimes gain is too high.
    Sometimes i wish i could reduce that gain so i dont hear annoying noises like leaf blowers outside and stuff like that. I have to use ear plugs which are uncomfortable.
    I wish we had a human gain control knob on our heads or something :)
     
  5. jpanhalt

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    We do have gain control in our heads. Hearing sensitivity goes up as the noise level goes down. Ear plugs may actually make the annoyance worse depending on the frequencies involved plus more than a pinch of psychology.

    John
     
  6. Alec_t

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    Sep 17, 2013
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    But they don't always work! My mother suffered most of her adult life from hyperacusis, so that 'normal' sounds were intolerably loud to her.
     
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