Search
Menu

Physicists Develop Quantum-Inspired Optical Sensor

Facebook X LinkedIn Email
Researchers from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT), joined by a colleague from Argonne National Laboratory, have implemented an advanced quantum algorithm for measuring physical quantities using simple optical tools. The technology could allow for affordable linear optical sensors with high-performance characteristics, with applications in diverse research fields such as astronomy and biology.

“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.”

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.
Apparatus for measuring the position of an object using optical coherence alone. Courtesy of Nikita Kirsanov/MIPT
Apparatus for measuring the position of an object using optical coherence alone. Courtesy of Nikita Kirsanov/MIPT.


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, and 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,” said 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,” Argonne Distinguished Fellow Valerii Vinokur said.

Published: June 2020
Glossary
quantum
The term quantum refers to the fundamental unit or discrete amount of a physical quantity involved in interactions at the atomic and subatomic scales. It originates from quantum theory, a branch of physics that emerged in the early 20th century to explain phenomena observed on very small scales, where classical physics fails to provide accurate explanations. In the context of quantum theory, several key concepts are associated with the term quantum: Quantum mechanics: This is the branch of...
Research & Technologyquantumquantum metrologyquantum measurementquantum measurementsoptical sensoroptical sensingMIPTArgonneArgonne National LabArgonne LaboratoryMoscow Institute of Physics and TechnologyOpticsSensors & DetectorsTech Pulse

We use cookies to improve user experience and analyze our website traffic as stated in our Privacy Policy. By using this website, you agree to the use of cookies unless you have disabled them.