Quantum metrology of grid deformations and squeezed light: with applications in quantum imaging & quantum information

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


In this thesis we make progress towards applications of quantum estimation theory to new physical systems. We first consider two commonly visited problems in quantum metrology: source optimisation and source localisation. For the first, we focus on estimating distances between neighbouring light sources along an array, which undergoes stretching deformations. We evaluate how changing the nature of the sources impacts the estimation precision of d by using the quantum Fisher information (QFI) as a figure of merit. By comparing this quantity for arrays of single photon emitters, coherent, thermal, and entangled sources, we find that the classical coherent and thermal states outperform the single photon emitters. This would be favourable since generating classical states is less resource-expensive to create. However, a quantum enhancement is observed when entanglement is employed. In agreement with separate work, the optimal state is that which entangles the eigenstates corresponding to the maximum and minimum difference eigenvalues of the generator. We demonstrate that not all entangled states can reproduce similar precision enhancements. This insight is reminiscent of previous studies, where entanglement was concluded as a necessary but insufficient resource for quantum metrology.

Next, we address the source localisation problem to detect any deformations applied to a grid of sources. Improving this detection depends on our ability to engineer grids that maximise the sensitivity of the QFI matrix. Hence, we derive the generators of local translations of unitary evolutions that describe any general grid deformation, and show that our result is a multi-parameter extension of other results in the literature. We obtain a general result for the quantum Fisher information matrix (QFIM) through these generators for any grid deformation and explore specific spatial maps, including composite stretches, shears, and rotations. Since the QFI matrix depends only on the properties of the probe state and the configuration of the emitters, we explore how we can modify both to enhance our estimation sensitivity to determine the applied grid deformation. Physically motivated, we find the best arrangement of sources that enhances the sensitivity of detection for a set number of sources.

Finally, we consider the optimal estimation of a complex squeezing operation in phase space. The use of squeezed light as a quantum resource is ubiquitous in quantum optics, and a complete characterisation of a complex squeezing operation is pivotal for fundamental reasons. This is a true multi-parameter quantum estimation problem of incompatible observables. Specifically, we find that the symmetric logarithmic derivates (SLDs) for amplitude and directional squeezing do not commute. This prohibits simultaneous optimal estimates of both parameters, even in the asymptotic limit. As a result, we focus on finding separable optimal estimates. The Cramér-Rao bound is determined to provide a theoretical benchmark on the bi-variate estimation precision for general single mode Gaussian probes. Using this and the SLDs, we present a practical experimental implementation that can realise the individual fundamental precision bounds.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Sheffield
  • Kok, Pieter, Supervisor, External person
Award date30 Jun 2020
Place of PublicationSheffield
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2018


  • quantum metrology
  • grid deformations
  • quantum estimation theory
  • source optimisation
  • source localisation


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