Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Linear optical quantum metrology with single photons --- Exploiting spontaneously generated entanglement to beat the shotnoise limit

Keith R. Motes, Jonathan P. Olson, Evan J. Rabeaux, Jonathan P. Dowling, S. Jay Olson, Peter P. Rohde


(Submitted on 6 Jan 2015)

Quantum number-path entanglement is a resource for super-sensitive quantum metrology and in particular provides for sub-shotnoise or even Heisenberg-limited sensitivity. However, such number-path entanglement has thought to have been resource intensive to create in the first place --- typically requiring either very strong nonlinearities, or nondeterministic preparation schemes with feed-forward, which are difficult to implement. Very recently, arising from the study of quantum random walks with multi-photon walkers, as well as the study of the computational complexity of passive linear optical interferometers fed with single-photon inputs, it has been shown that such passive linear optical devices generate a superexponentially large amount of number-path entanglement. A logical question to ask is whether this entanglement may be exploited for quantum metrology. We answer that question here in the affirmative by showing that a simple, passive, linear-optical interferometer --- fed with only uncorrelated, single-photon inputs, coupled with simple, single-mode, disjoint photodetection --- is capable of significantly beating the shotnoise limit. Our result implies a pathway forward to practical quantum metrology with readily available technology.