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There has been much recent interest in quantum optical interferometry for applications to metrology, subwavelength imaging, and remote sensing such as in quantum laser radar (LADAR). For quantum LADAR, atmospheric absorption rapidly degrades any quantum state of light, so that for high-photon loss the optimal strategy is to transmit coherent states of light, which suffer no worse loss than the Beer law for classical optical attenuation, and which provides sensitivity at the shot-noise limit. We 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. © 2010 Optical Society of America.

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Journal of the Optical Society of America B: Optical Physics