Optimal multi-photon phase sensing with a single interference fringe

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Xiang, GY
Hofmann, HF
Pryde, GJ
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2013
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Abstract

Quantum entanglement can help to increase the precision of optical phase measurements beyond the shot noise limit (SNL) to the ultimate Heisenberg limit. However, the N-photon parity measurements required to achieve this optimal sensitivity are extremely difficult to realize with current photon detection technologies, requiring high-fidelity resolution of N + 1 different photon distributions between the output ports. Recent experimental demonstrations of precision beyond the SNL have therefore used only one or two photon-number detection patterns instead of parity measurements. Here we investigate the achievable phase sensitivity of the simple and efficient single interference fringe detection technique. We show that the maximally-entangled "NOON" state does not achieve optimal phase sensitivity when N > 4, rather, we show that the Holland-Burnett state is optimal. We experimentally demonstrate this enhanced sensitivity using a single photon-counted fringe of the six-photon Holland-Burnett state. Specifically, our single-fringe six-photon measurement achieves a phase variance three times below the SNL.

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Scientific Reports

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3

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© 2013 Nature Publishing Group. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal website for access to the definitive, published version.

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Quantum information, computation and communication

Quantum optics and quantum optomechanics

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