Physicists create quantum-inspired optical sensor

June 05, 2020

Researchers from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, joined by a colleague from Argonne National Laboratory, U.S., have implemented an advanced quantum algorithm for measuring physical quantities using simple optical tools. Published in Scientific Reports, their study takes us a step closer to affordable linear optics-based sensors with high performance characteristics. Such tools are sought after in diverse research fields, from astronomy to biology.

Maximizing the sensitivity of measurement tools is crucial for any field of science and technology. Astronomers seek to detect remote cosmic phenomena, biologists need to discern exceedingly tiny organic structures, and engineers have to measure the positions and velocities of objects, to name a few examples.

Until recently, no measurement tool could ensure precision above the so-called shot noise limit, which has to do with the statistical features inherent in classical observations. Quantum technology has provided a way around this, boosting precision to the fundamental Heisenberg limit, stemming from the basic principles of quantum mechanics. The LIGO experiment, which detected gravitational waves for the first time in 2016, shows it is possible to achieve Heisenberg-limited sensitivity by combining complex optical interference schemes and quantum techniques.

Quantum metrology is a cutting-edge area of physics concerned with the technological and algorithmic tools for making highly precise quantum measurements. In their recent study, the team from MIPT and ANL fused quantum metrology with linear optics.

"We devised and constructed an optical scheme that runs the Fourier transform-based phase estimation procedure," said study co-author Nikita Kirsanov from MIPT. "This procedure lies at the core of many quantum algorithms, including high-precision measurement protocols."

A specific arrangement of a very large number of linear optical elements -- beam splitters, phase shifters, and mirrors -- makes it possible to gain information about the geometric angles, positions, velocities as well as other parameters of physical objects. The measurement involves encoding the quantity of interest in the optical phases, which are then determined directly.

"This research is a follow-up to our work on universal quantum measurement algorithms," commented principal investigator Gordey Lesovik, who heads the MIPT Laboratory of the Physics of Quantum Information Technology. "In an earlier collaboration with a research group from Aalto University in Finland, we experimentally implemented a similar measurement algorithm on transmon qubits."

The experiment showed that despite the large number of optical elements in the scheme, it is nevertheless tunable and controllable. According to the theoretical estimates provided in the paper linear optics tools are viable for implementing even operations that are considerably more complex.

"The study has demonstrated that linear optics offers an affordable and effective platform for implementing moderate-scale quantum measurements and computations," said Argonne Distinguished Fellow Valerii Vinokur.
-end-


Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

Related Physics Articles from Brightsurf:

Helium, a little atom for big physics
Helium is the simplest multi-body atom. Its energy levels can be calculated with extremely high precision only relying on a few fundamental physical constants and the quantum electrodynamics (QED) theory.

Hyperbolic metamaterials exhibit 2T physics
According to Igor Smolyaninov of the University of Maryland, ''One of the more unusual applications of metamaterials was a theoretical proposal to construct a physical system that would exhibit two-time physics behavior on small scales.''

Challenges and opportunities for women in physics
Women in the United States hold fewer than 25% of bachelor's degrees, 20% of doctoral degrees and 19% of faculty positions in physics.

Indeterminist physics for an open world
Classical physics is characterized by the equations describing the world.

Leptons help in tracking new physics
Electrons with 'colleagues' -- other leptons - are one of many products of collisions observed in the LHCb experiment at the Large Hadron Collider.

Has physics ever been deterministic?
Researchers from the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the University of Vienna and the University of Geneva, have proposed a new interpretation of classical physics without real numbers.

Twisted physics
A new study in the journal Nature shows that superconductivity in bilayer graphene can be turned on or off with a small voltage change, increasing its usefulness for electronic devices.

Physics vs. asthma
A research team from the MIPT Center for Molecular Mechanisms of Aging and Age-Related Diseases has collaborated with colleagues from the U.S., Canada, France, and Germany to determine the spatial structure of the CysLT1 receptor.

2D topological physics from shaking a 1D wire
Published in Physical Review X, this new study propose a realistic scheme to observe a 'cold-atomic quantum Hall effect.'

Helping physics teachers who don't know physics
A shortage of high school physics teachers has led to teachers with little-to-no training taking over physics classrooms, reports show.

Read More: Physics News and Physics Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.