Heterodyne and adaptive phase measurements on states of fixed mean photon number

D. Berry*, H. M. Wiseman, Zhong Xi Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The standard technique for measuring the phase of a single-mode field is heterodyne detection. Such a measurement may have an uncertainty far above the intrinsic quantum phase uncertainty of the state. Recently it has been shown [H. M. Wiseman and R. B. Killip, Phys. Rev. A 57, 2169 (1998)] that an adaptive technique introduces far less excess noise. Here we quantify this difference by an exact numerical calculation of the minimum measured phase variance for the various schemes, optimized over states with a fixed mean photon number. We also analytically derive the asymptotics for these variances. For the case of heterodyne detection our results disagree with the power law claimed by D'Ariano and Paris [Phys. Rev. A 49, 3022 (1994)].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2458-2466
Number of pages9
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


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