Phase estimation for thermal Gaussian states

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We give the optimal bounds on the phase-estimation precision for mixed Gaussian states in the single-copy and many-copy regimes. Specifically, we focus on displaced thermal and squeezed thermal states. We find that while for displaced thermal states an increase in temperature reduces the estimation fidelity, for squeezed thermal states a larger temperature can enhance the estimation fidelity. The many-copy optimal bounds are compared with the minimum variance achieved by three important single-shot measurement strategies. We show that the single-copy canonical phase measurement does not always attain the optimal bounds in the many-copy scenario. Adaptive homodyning schemes do attain the bounds for displaced thermal states, but for squeezed states they yield fidelities that are insensitive to temperature variations and are, therefore, suboptimal. Finally, we find that heterodyne measurements perform very poorly for pure states but can attain the optimal bounds for sufficiently mixed states. We apply our results to investigate the influence of losses in an optical metrology experiment. In the presence of losses squeezed states cease to provide the Heisenberg limited precision, and their performance is close to that of coherent states with the same mean photon number. © 2009 The American Physical Society.
Original languageEnglish
Article number033834
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2009


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