Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Physics & Astronomy

Document Type



The fundamental precision limit of an interferometer is crucial since it bounds the best possible sensitivity one could achieve using such a device. This thesis will focus on several different interferometers and try to give the ultimate precision bounds by carefully counting all the resources used in the interferometers.

The thesis begins with the basics of the quantum state of light. The fundamentals of quantum metrology are also reviewed and discussed. More specifically, the terminology of classical and quantum Cram\'er-Rao bound and classical and quantum Fisher information are introduced.

Chapter 3 discusses the conclusive precision bounds in two-mode interferometer such as Mach-Zehnder interferometer (MZI) and SU(1,1) interferometer. I revisit the quantum Fisher information approach of these two interferometers and show the discrepancy of phase sensitivity on the physically same setup. Then I establish fundamental precision estimation bounds for such device, due to the reason that many works of literature fail to accurately count the resources and knowledge of phase-to-be-estimated used in the interferometers. The analysis suggests that for a MZI, one can never do better than SNL in phase sensitivity, when an input to one of the two ports is the vacuum. If one does not allow the detector to use any external phase reference or power resource, then the precision is limited by the SNL. For a SU(1,1) interferometer, firstly, when one of the input states is restricted to be a vacuum state, I showed that by using either the phase-averaging method or the quantum Fisher information matrix method, different phase configurations of the SU(1,1) interferometer result in the same QFI. Secondly, I compared the results of the phase-averaging method and the quantum Fisher information matrix method, and then I argued that for an SU(1,1) interferometer, phase averaging or quantum Fisher information matrix method is generally required, and they are equivalent. Finally, I used the quantum Fisher information matrix method to calculate the precision limit for other common input states, such as two coherent state inputs or coherent state with squeezed vacuum inputs.

In chapter 4, I will consider a passive multi-mode interferometer for multiparameter phase estimation. It was suggested that optical networks with relatively inexpensive overhead---single photon Fock states, passive optical elements, and single photon detection---can show significant improvements over classical strategies for single-parameter estimation, when the number of modes in the network is small. In this chapter, I analytically compute the quantum Cramer-Rao bound to show these networks can have a constant-factor quantum advantage in multi-parameter estimation for even large number of modes. Additionally, I provide a simplified measurement scheme using an array of single photon detectors and only one number-resolving detector that is capable of approximately obtaining this sensitivity for a small number of modes. Remarkably, supersensitivity can be observed even with inefficient but heralded single photon sources.



Committee Chair

Dowling, Jonathan