Thursday, July 11, 2013

1307.2683 (Michael J. W. Hall)

Metrology with entangled coherent states - a quantum scaling paradox    [PDF]

Michael J. W. Hall
There has been much interest in developing phase estimation schemes which beat the so-called Heisenberg limit, i.e., for which the phase resolution scales better than 1/n, where n is a measure of resources such as the average photon number or the number of atomic qubits. In particular, a number of nonlinear schemes have been proposed for which the resolution appears to scale as 1/n^k or even exp(-n), based on optimising the quantum Cramer-Rao bound. Such schemes include the use of entangled coherent states. However, it may be shown that the average root mean square errors of the proposed schemes (averaged over any prior distribution of phase shifts), cannot beat the Heisenberg limit, and that simple estimation schemes based on entangled coherent states cannot scale better than 1/n^{1/4}. This paradox is related to the role of 'bias' in Cramer-Rao bounds, and is only partially ameliorated via iterative implementations of the proposed schemes. The results are based on new information-theoretic bounds for the average information gain and error of any phase estimation scheme, and generalise to estimates of shifts generated by any operator having discrete eigenvalues.
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