Harnessing the unique properties of quantum mechanics offers the possibility of delivering alternative technologies that can fundamentally outperform their classical counterparts. These technologies deliver advantages only when components operate with performance beyond specific thresholds. For optical quantum metrology, the biggest challenge that impacts on performance thresholds is optical loss. Here, we demonstrate how including an optical delay and an optical switch in a feed-forward configuration with a stable and efficient correlated photon-pair source reduces the detector efficiency required to enable quantum-enhanced sensing down to the detection level of single photons and without postselection. When the switch is active, we observe a factor of improvement in precision of 1.27 for transmission measurement on a per-input-photon basis compared to the performance of a laser emitting an ideal coherent state and measured with the same detection efficiency as our setup. When the switch is inoperative, we observe no quantum advantage.
- Bristol Quantum Information Institute
- Quantum Metrology
- Quantum optics