Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Physics and Astronomy
One important problem in quantum optics is to resolve an extremely small change of phase shift. The complementarity between photon number and phase sets an ultimate limit, the so-called Heisenberg limit, on the phase measurement sensitivity. The precise phase estimation has many technological applications, such as optical gyroscopes, gravitational wave detection, quantum imaging and sensing. In this thesis I show that the utilization of the parity measurement in the optical interferometry is actually applicable to a wide range of quantum entangled input states. Comparison of the performance of the various quantum states then can be made within such a unified output measurement scheme. Based on such a universal detection scheme, we present a comparison of the phase sensitivity reduction for various quantum states of light in the presence of photon loss. I also provide a simple condition that could be used to check whether an arbitrary state can achieve the Heisenberg limit independently of the detection scheme. It implies that the fidelity between the two output states with zero phase and minimal detectable phase applied respectively should significantly different from unity as the minimal phase shift scaling as 1/N, whereas the average number of input photons N goes to infinity. Next I give several measures to characterize the which-way information in the interference experiment. We define a new distinguishability associated with the fidelity between two density matrices to measure the which-way information. We demonstrate that the changes of mutual entropy as well as the entanglement of formation of the whole system, i.e. the physical system plus the which-way detector can also be used to describe the which-way information. With such quantities, we show that as the fringe visibility of the interference pattern gets larger, the less which-way information is obtained. Finally, I show that coherent light coupled with photon number resolving detectors can provide a super-resolution much below the Rayleigh diffraction limit, with sensitivity no worse than shot-noise in terms of the detected photon power. This scheme would have applications to laser radar, given the difficulty in making entangled states of light, as well as their susceptibility to atmospheric absorption.
Document Availability at the Time of Submission
Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.
Gao, Yang, "New strategies for phase estimation in quantum optics" (2010). LSU Doctoral Dissertations. 1616.