Gaussian state-based quantum illumination with simple photodetection

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Proofs of the quantum advantage available in imaging or detecting objects under quantum illumination can rely on optimal measurements without specifying what they are. We use the continuous-variable Gaussian quantum information formalism to show that quantum illumination is better for object detection compared with coherent states of the same mean photon number, even for simple direct photodetection. The advantage persists if signal energy and object reflectivity are low and background thermal noise is high. The advantage is even greater if we match signal beam detection probabilities rather than mean photon number. We perform all calculations with thermal states, even for non-Gaussian conditioned states with negative Wigner functions. We simulate repeated detection using a Monte-Carlo process that clearly shows the advantages obtainable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8199-8215
Number of pages17
JournalOptics Express
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2021


  • Gaussian
  • state-based
  • quantum illumination
  • simple photodetection


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