Enhancement of the phase-measurement sensitivity beyond the standard quantum limit by a nonlinear interferometer

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Original languageEnglish
Article number023815
Journal / PublicationPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes


A nonlinear interferometer uses nonlinear elements as beam splitters to split and to recombine optical waves for interference. As a result, the interference fringe size has a nonlinear dependence on the intensity of the field for phase sensing and leads to an enhanced phase signal. In this paper, a practical scheme of nonlinear interferometry for precision phase measurement is analyzed with parametric amplifiers as the nonlinear beam splitters. It is found that the signal due to phase shift is enhanced by a factor of the amplification gain as compared to a linear interferometer with the same phase-sensing light intensity while the quantum noise is kept at the vacuum level, thus, effectively increasing the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) beyond the standard quantum limit. Furthermore, the scheme is not as sensitive to the detection loss as the linear scheme with a squeezed state for noise reduction. However, losses inside the interferometer limit the enhancement factor in SNR. We apply the concept to a Michelson interferometer but with parametric amplifiers involved for gravitational-wave detection. We find that effective power is increased by the gain of the amplifiers without actually increasing the cycling power inside the interferometer. Furthermore, the full benefits with squeezed input and variational output or the combination of a quantum nondemolition interferometer for sensitivity beyond the standard quantum limit apply here with even better results. Such a nonlinear interferometer will find wide applications in precision measurements. © 2012 American Physical Society.

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