You can't get more direct than this in terms of proving that photons exist!
- iopscience.iop.org/book/978-0-7503-3063-3.pdf Quantum Mechanics in the Single Photon Laboratory by Waseem, Ilahi and Anwar (2020)
Phenomena that produces photons in pairs as it passes through a certain type of crystal.
You can then detect one of the photons, and when you do you know that the other one is there as well and ready to be used. two photon interference experiment comes to mind, which is the basis of photonic quantum computer, where you need two photons to be produced at the exact same time to produce quantum entanglement.
The basic experiment for a photonic quantum computer.
Animation of Hong-Ou-Mandel Effect on a silicon like structure by Quantum Light University of Sheffield (2014): www.youtube.com/watch?v=ld2r2IMt4vg No maths, but gives the result clear: the photons are always on the same side.
Can be used to detect single photons.
Richard Feynman likes them, he describes the tube at Richard Feynman Quantum Electrodynamics Lecture at University of Auckland (1979) at one point.
It uses the photoelectric effect multiple times to produce a chain reaction.
Here is a vendor showcasing their device. They claim in that video that a single photon is produced and detected:
Concrete device described at: Video "How to use an SiPM - Experiment Video by SensLTech (2018)".