Monday, July 8, 2013

1307.1523 (G. Y. Xiang et al.)

Optimal multi-photon phase sensing with a single interference fringe    [PDF]

G. Y. Xiang, H. F. Hofmann, G. J. Pryde
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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