Mode engineering for realistic quantum-enhanced interferometry

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Michał Jachura, Radosław Chrapkiewicz, Rafał Demkowicz-Dobrzański, Wojciech Wasilewski, Konrad Banaszek


Nature Communications 7, 11411 (2016)

Quantum metrology overcomes standard precision limits by exploiting collective quantum superpositions of physical systems used for sensing, with the prominent example of non-classical multiphoton states improving interferometric techniques. Practical quantum-enhanced interferometry is, however, vulnerable to imperfections such as partial distinguishability of interfering photons. Here we introduce a method where appropriate design of the modal structure of input photons can alleviate deleterious effects caused by another, experimentally inaccessible degree of freedom. This result is accompanied by a laboratory demonstration that a suitable choice of spatial modes combined with position-resolved coincidence detection restores entanglement-enhanced precision in the full operating range of a realistic two-photon Mach–Zehnder interferometer, specifically around a point which otherwise does not even attain the shot-noise limit due to the presence of residual distinguishing information in the spectral degree of freedom. Our method highlights the potential of engineering multimode physical systems in metrologic applications.