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Weak-value amplification and optimal parameter estimation in the presence of correlated noise

Physics Revue
Sinclair, J.Hallaji, M.Steinberg, A.M.Tollaksen, J.Jordan, A.N. Centre for Quantum Information and Quantum Control,
Institute for Optical Sciences,
Department of Physics,
University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Institute for Quantum Studies,
Chapman University,
Orange, CA, USA

Schmid College for Science and Technology,
Chapman University, Orange, CA, USA

Department of Physics and Astronomy,
Center for Coherence and Quantum Optics,
University of Rochester,
New York, USA
2017 Physics

We analytically and numerically investigate the performance of weak-value amplification (WVA) and related parameter estimation methods in the presence of temporally correlated noise. WVA is a special instance of a general measurement strategy that involves sorting data into separate subsets based on the outcome of a second “partitioning” measurement. Using a simplified noise model that can be analyzed exactly together with optimal statistical estimators, we compare WVA to a conventional measurement method.

We find that introducing WVA indeed yields a much lower variance of the parameter of interest than does the conventional technique, optimized in the absence of any partitioning measurements. In contrast, a statistically optimal analysis that employs partitioning measurements, incorporating all partitioned results and their known correlations, is found to yield an improvement – typically slight – over the noise reduction achieved by WVA. This is because the simple WVA technique is not tailored to a given noise environment and therefore does not make use of correlations between the different partitions.

We also compare WVA to traditional background subtraction, a familiar technique where measurement outcomes are partitioned to eliminate unknown offsets or errors in calibration. Surprisingly, in our model background subtraction turns out to be a special case of the optimal partitioning approach in the balanced case, possessing a similar typically slight advantage over WVA. These results give deeper insight into the role of partitioning measurements, with or without post-selection, in enhancing measurement precision, which some have found puzzling.

They also resolve previously made conflicting claims about the usefulness of weak value amplification to precision measurement. We finish by presenting numerical results to model a more realistic laboratory situation of time-decaying correlations, showing our conclusions hold for a wide range of statistical models.

The article was published in: Physics Revue A 96(5): 052128.

Full article

This work was supported (in part) by the Fetzer Franklin Fund of the John E. Fetzer Memorial Trust.