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Title: Measurement of quantum light pulses for enhanced precision sensing
Author: Davis, Alexander Owen Clayton
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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Quantum physics holds promise to revolutionise a number of technologies by enabling performance beyond what is feasible with classical resources, such as secure communications, precision measurement and high-speed simulation and computation. To realise this, quantum information must be encoded into one of the physical degrees of freedom of light. The time-frequency (TF) domain provides a infinite-dimensional space which is naturally compatible with integrated optical platforms. Additionally, future quantum networks will require coherent coupling of quantum systems that do not necessarily exhibit TF mode overlap. The ability to generate, coherently control and measure a variety of TF states of quantum light is therefore a necessary step towards implementing optical quantum technologies. Developing the building blocks for future optical quantum applications calls for an assortment of methods for measuring the properties of TF states of quantum light. Whilst much progress has been made towards this goal recently, deficiencies with existing methods remain. Efficient spectrally-resolved detection away from the telecoms wavelength range and a robust approach to single-photon state characterisation that is sensitive to the spectral phase have so far proven challenging. Additionally, accessing quantum advantages requires measurements that are sensitive to the nonclassical correlations that can exist between separate subsystems. However, until now a flexible approach to determining the full quantum state of systems of multiple time/frequency entangled photons has been lacking. Here we develop a toolbox of techniques for the measurement of TF quantum states of light for few-photon systems, and apply these to the task of precision measurement. Firstly, we propose, construct and demonstrate efficient single-photon spectrometers based on dispersive time-to-frequency mapping, using chirped fibre Bragg gratings to apply the necessary group delay dispersion. We use two such devices operating in coincidence to realise a full phase-sensitive reconstruction of the TF state of a single photon, by spectrally resolving the output of a nonclassical interference process with an external reference. We also demonstrate a complementary, optical reference-free method. This characterisation tool, an implementation of electro-optic spectral shearing interferometry with coincident spectrally-resolved single-photon detection, melds techniques from ultrafast metrology and quantum optics. We proceed to demonstrate the flexibility of this device by reconstructing a wide range of test pulses generated with a pulse shaper. By implementing this technique in conjunction with spectrally-resolved detection of a second photon, we realise complete characterisation of the TF wave function of a spectrally-entangled broadband photon pair. This method is robust to a wide range of inputs and is generalisable to spectrally mixed states and across a wide range of wavelengths, including to spectrally non-degenerate photon pairs. To demonstrate, we generate an entangled photon pair with controllable TF entanglement and perform a full reconstruction. Lastly, we present a new technique for using TF entangled photon pairs to realise quantum-enhanced measurement of a time delay in a quantum channel in the presence of environmental noise. This scheme is based on entanglement-enhanced rejection of background light. A simple experiment demonstrating the feasibility of such a measurement is presented.
Supervisor: Smith, Brian Sponsor: DSTL
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available