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Journal Article

Motional Fock states for quantum-enhanced amplitude and phase measurements with trapped ions


Hammerer,  K.
Laser Interferometry & Gravitational Wave Astronomy, AEI-Hannover, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Wolf, F., Shi, C., Heip, J. C., Gessner, M., Pezzè, L., Smerzi, A., et al. (2019). Motional Fock states for quantum-enhanced amplitude and phase measurements with trapped ions. Nature Communications, 10: 2929. doi:10.1038/s41467-019-10576-4.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0004-480C-F
Non-vanishing fluctuations of the vacuum state are a salient feature of quantum theory. These fluctuations fundamentally limit the precision of quantum sensors. Nowadays, several systems such as optical clocks, gravitational wave detectors, matter-wave interferometers, magnetometers, and optomechanical systems approach measurement sensitivities where the effect of quantum fluctuations sets a fundamental limit, the so-called standard quantum limit (SQL). It has been proposed that the SQL can be overcome by squeezing the vacuum fluctuations. Realizations of this scheme have been demonstrated in various systems. However, protocols based on squeezed vacuum crucially rely on precise control of the relative orientation of the squeezing with respect to the operation imprinting the measured quantity. Lack of control can lead to an amplification of noise and reduces the sensitivity of the device. Here, we experimentally demonstrate a novel quantum metrological paradigm based on phase insensitive Fock states of the motional state of a trapped ion, with applications in frequency metrology and displacement detection. The measurement apparatus is used in two different experimental settings probing non-commuting observables with sensitivities beyond the SQL. In both measurements, classical preparation and detection noise are sufficiently small to preserve the quantum gain in a full metrological protocol.