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Polarization-based quantum

entanglement for enhanced resolution

James F. Smith III

James F. Smith III “Polarization-based quantum entanglement for enhanced resolution,”

Opt. Eng. 58(8), 082411 (2019), doi: 10.1117/1.OE.58.8.082411.

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Optical Engineering 58(8), 082411 (August 2019)

Polarization-based quantum entanglement for enhanced

James F. Smith III*
Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C., United States

Abstract. A quantum LIDAR for improving resolution using quantum entanglement in the polarization degree
of freedom is described. A thorough mathematical analysis of this device is provided. A mathematical discussion
of how to generate other more robust entangled states is developed. Internal loss within the entanglement
generator and external loss due to atmosphere, detectors, and targets are modeled. A method using these
approaches for imaging is provided giving N times classical resolution, where N is the number of photons
entangled with explicit results exhibited for N ¼ 3. Closed form expressions for the wave function, normalization,
density matrix, reduced density matrix, visibility, and probabilities of detection of one through three photons using
detectors with general polarization characteristics are provided. An explicit entanglement generator and detector
designs are provided in terms of linear and nonlinear photonics devices. The fundamental role of postselection
measurement for generating entanglement is included. Discussions of entanglement devices that will produce
general M&M states at near-visible frequencies are given. A discussion of a bearing measurement device that
exhibits both super sensitivity and resolution is provided. Computational results are provided that compare prob-
abilities of detection for three single photon detectors with −45- deg, 45-deg, and 45-deg linear polarization.
Results for detecting one to three photons or the vacuum state are compared. Computational results for
detecting three photons with these detectors for various values of internal and atmospheric loss are provided.
Resolution improvements born of quantum entanglement are shown not to degrade with loss. Loss degrades
probability of detection not resolution. © 2019 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) [DOI: 10.1117/1.OE.58.8
Keywords: quantum entanglement; polarization degree of freedom; M&M state; N00N state; super resolution; quantum imaging;
quantum sensor; postselection measurement.
Paper 181476SS received Oct. 15, 2018; accepted for publication Feb. 1, 2019; published online Feb. 27, 2019.

1 Introduction visibility, and probabilities of detection for detectors with

A factorization scheme is introduced for an N ¼ 3 N00N general polarization characteristics are provided. All results
state generation in the polarization degree of freedom are derived mathematically using the postulates of quantum
(DOF). A method of using these states for imaging in the mechanics. Computational results comparing probabilities
atmosphere is explored. The factorization scheme potentially for detecting different numbers of photons and for different
permits any N00N or M&M state1–5 to be generated and values of loss are given.
detected. Explicit results for N00N states are presented. The paper is organized as follows: Sec. 2 provides the
Internal loss within the entanglement generator and external design of the entanglement generator including the function
loss due to atmosphere, detectors, and targets are modeled. of various optical elements and a discussion of postselection
A method using these approaches for quantum entangle- detection. Section 2 also provides closed form expressions
ment-based imaging is provided that gives N times classical for the wave function that is produced by the optics, its nor-
malization, the model of loss within the imaging system,
resolution, where N is the number of photons entangled with
atmospheric loss, the related density, and reduced density
explicit results exhibited for N ¼ 3. The wave function, nor-
operators. Section 3 provides general projection operators
malization, density matrix, reduced density matrix, visibility,
for the detection of one to three photons in a wide class of
and probabilities of detection of one through three photons
polarization states and the derivations as well as probabilities
using detectors with general polarization characteristics are
of detection for one through three photons. The relationship
provided. Explicit entanglement generator and detector
between the optimal detection operators and the detection
designs are provided in terms of linear and nonlinear photon-
probabilities are made explicit. In Sec. 4, a general factori-
ics devices. The designs are kindred to those developed zation scheme for M&M states and, subsequently, N00N
for a recent experiment that did not explore atmospheric states is provided. Discussions of entanglement devices that
propagation.2 The fundamental role of postselection meas- will produce general M&M states at near-visible wave-
urement for generating entanglement is included. Closed lengths,2 e.g., 810 nm are also given. In Sec. 5, a discussion
form expressions for general detector configurations are pro- of a bearing measurement device that exhibits both super-
vided. The presented material provides a basis for further sensitivity and resolution is provided. Section 6 provides
quantum imaging research.6,7 Closed form results for the computational results comparing probabilities of detection
relevant wave functions, normalization, detection operators, of one to three photons and the vacuum state for specific
values of loss internal to the imaging system and external
*Address all correspondence to James F. Smith III, E-mail: james.smith@ 0091-3286/2019/$25.00 © 2019 SPIE

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Smith: Polarization-based quantum entanglement for enhanced resolution

atmospheric loss. Also, this section compares the probability photons arrive at the detectors at J, then there was no
of detecting three photons at various values of internal and reflected component of vertically polarized light off the PP.
atmospheric loss. Section 7 discusses alternate forms of The local oscillator (LO) photon propagates outside to
entanglement and their utility for sensing and communica- a target and scatters back to the detector path, QPG. . . K.
tions. Finally, Sec. 8 provides conclusions. In the process of scattering off the BK-7 glass at the
Brewster angle, only vertically polarized photons along the
path QPG. . . K are reflected toward the detectors at K. As
2 Entanglement and Detection described in the Mitchell–Lundeen–Steinberg experiment,2
Figure 1 shows a configuration for generating and detecting a postselection using the detector at F is once again used.
N ¼ 3 N00N state in the horizontally (H) and vertically (V)
polarized basis. Although this configuration is explicit for
N ¼ 3 N00N states, the approach can be readily generalized 2.1 Entanglement Generator, Its Components, and
to any N00N or M&M state.1–5 Loss Mechanisms
The photon source is located at point A in Fig. 1. It pro- In Fig. 1, LO photons travel through the exit portal at O,
vides photons some of which pass through the beam splitter scatter off target at Q to the detector at K. While traveling
at position B to go to the beta barium borate (BBO) crystal at through the atmosphere, both aþ þ
H and aV experience trans-
position C. Other photons are reflected from the beam split- mittance tatm and reflectance ratm . Atmospheric loss is simu-
ter at position B, subsequently traveling to the mirror at posi- lated by the beam splitter at P. In Fig. 1, the solid gray beam
tion L. Those photons traveling to the BBO crystal stimulate splitters at I and P are used to model loss. They would not
type II parametric down conversion. This generally produces be present in a real system unlike the beam splitters at B
two orthogonally polarized photons. It is rare that type II and M.
parametric down conversion would produce more than two The photon source at A sends photons out that pass
output photons. These two orthogonally polarized photons through a beam splitter at B. Some of the photons travel to
pass through a polarizing beam splitter (PBS) that converts the BBO crystal at C. The others are attenuated along the
them into a horizontally polarized photon with creation oper- path BLMO to produce the LO photon.
ator denoted as aþ H and a vertically polarized photon with Loss along the path C–J is given by the beam splitter at
creation operator denoted as aþ V. I with transmittance, tI and reflectance, rI .
Let the vacuum state be denoted as j0i; after the PBS, the
Recall1,3 that loss at I or Q can be written as
state of the photons is given as aþ þ
H aV j0i. The photon then
travels from position D to position E through the half au0þ ¼ tα · aþ  þ

u þ rα · aα;u ; (1)
wave plate (HWP) that converts the two photons to a photon
with a 45-deg polarization and a second photon with a where
−45-deg polarization. The vertical polarization direction
corresponds to the zero degree polarization state. The three u¼H
EQ-TARGET;temp:intralink-;e002;326;408 or V; (2)
lines labeled PP represent a partial polarizer (PP) constructed
using three sheets of BK-7 glass.2 Photons impinge on the α ¼ “atm” or
EQ-TARGET;temp:intralink-;e003;326;383 “I”; (3)
BK-7 glass at the Brewster angle; hence, by definition, there
is no reflected component of horizontally polarized light where aþ u creates photons to be detected by detector J and
from the BK-7 glass for the photons impinging from the aþα;u creates “noise” photons to be averaged over using the
HWP plate. The reflected component of the vertically polar- density matrix formalism.1,3 The notation H and V refer to
ized light can in principle be detected by the postselection horizontally and vertically polarized photons. The notations
detector at F. In practice, since type II parametric down “atm” and “I” refer to atmospheric and internal loss within
conversion rarely produces more than two photons, if three the entanglement generator.



Photon 45o

Fig. 1 Photons traveling along the path ABCD. . . IJK have different loss operators, transmittances, and
reflectances than the photon traveling along the path ABL. . . OQ. . . JK. Arm LOQ can move through an
angle theta for bearing determination. The mirror at R moves in conjunction with arm LOQ to make sure
that the single photon that reflects off it arrives at G at the Brewster angle. The positions of the detectors
at K move in conjunction with the movement of the LOQ arm so that the phase shift along JK is propor-
tional to the change in theta.

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Recall that for beam splitter models of loss,1,3 it is true that matrix calculations. The operator U ϕ represents the action
of the PS at J and is given explicitly as
jtα j2 þ jrα j2 ¼ 1:
EQ-TARGET;temp:intralink-;e004;63;741 (4)
U ϕ ≡ expði · ϕ · aþ

V aV Þ: (10)
The quantities tα and rα are the complex transmission and
pffiffiffiffiffiffi for mode α, respectively.
reflectivity pffiffiffiffiffiThey
ffi can be written as It is straightforward to show that the normalization con-
tα ≡ T α · expði · ϕα Þ and rα ≡ Rα · expði · ηα Þ. Without stant for j3 ∷ 0;1; atm; Ii is given as
loss of generality, it will be assumed that ϕα ¼ ηα ¼ 0. pffiffiffi  − 1
After exiting the BK-7 glass and before entering the 3 2 1 2

quarter wave plate (QWP), the two photon traveling path N¼ · 2.5 · jtatm j · jtI j − · jtatm j · jtI j þ 10 :
2 2
2 4
2 2
ABC. . . K are in the 60 deg and −60 deg polarization states.
The creation operator for the 60 deg and −60 deg polariza-
tion states, denoted as aþ þ
60 and a−60 , respectively, satisfy the
following proportionalities: 2.2 Reduced Density Operator
pffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi The density operator for j3 ∷ 0;1; atm; Ii takes the form
aþ60 j0i ∝ 2∕3 · expð−iπ∕6Þ · ½aþ
L þ expðiπ∕3Þ · aR ; (5)
ρ ¼ j3 ∷ 0;1; atm; Iih3 ∷ 0;1; atm; Ij: (12)

−60 j0i ∝ 2∕3 · expðiπ∕6Þ · ½aþ þ
L þ expð−iπ∕3Þ · aR : (6)
The reduced density matrix is derived by tracing over the

states corresponding to noise, i.e., the “atm” and the “I”

The photon traveling the LO path, i.e., ABL. . . Q. . . G, is
states and is given explicitly as
in a 0-deg polarization state. The creation operator for the
0-deg polarization state is denoted as aþ 0 , and it satisfies ρred ¼ ρred ðFTÞ þ ρred ðSTÞ;
EQ-TARGET;temp:intralink-;e013;326;520 (13)
the following proportionality:


0 j0i ∝ pffiffiffi · ðaþ þ

L − aR Þ: (7) ρred ðFTÞ ¼ 2∕9 · N 2 · Uϕ
2·i EQ-TARGET;temp:intralink-;e014;326;478

· fjtatm · t2I j2 · ½ðaþ 3 þ 3

V Þ − ðaH Þ j0ih0j½ðaV Þ − ðaH Þ 
3 3
The operators aþ þ
L and aR create left and right circularly
polarized photon states, respectively. þ 5 · jtatm · tI rI j2 · ½ðaþ 2 þ 2
V Þ þ ðaH Þ j0ih0j½ðaV Þ þ ðaH Þ 
2 2

After passage through the QWP at H and the loss beam

þ 2 · jtatm · tI rI j2 · aþ þ
V · aH j0ih0jaV · aH
splitters at I and P, the three photons are in a state related
to the final form of Eq. (8): þ 5 · jtatm · r2I j2 · ðaþ þ þ
V − aH Þj0ih0jðaV − aH Þg · U ϕ ;

aþ þ þ þ þ þ (14)
0 a60 a−60 → QWPða0 Þ · QWPða60 Þ · QWPða−60 Þ

2 and
→ pffiffiffi · ½tatm · ðaþ þ  þ þ
V − aH Þ þ ratm · ðaatm;V − aatm;H Þ ρred ðSTÞ ¼ 4∕9 · N 2 · jratm j2 · Uϕ

propagation of 3 2i

· fjtI j4 · ½ðaþ þ þ þ 2
0 deg photon
H Þ þ aH · aV þ ðaV Þ j0ih0j½ðaH Þ þ aH · aV
2 2
· ½tI · ðaþ
V þe
· aþ  þ
H Þ þ rI · ðaI;V þ e
· aþ
þ ðaV Þ2  þ 5 · jtI · rI j2 · ðaþ þ
V þ aH Þj0ih0jðaV þ aH Þ
· ½tI · ðaþ
V þe
· aþ  þ
H Þ þ rI · ðaI;V þ e
· aþ
I;H Þ:
þ 5 · jrI j4 · j0ih0jg · Uþ
ϕ: (15)
Physical insight about Eqs. (14) and (15) can be gained
Multiplying out the final form in Eq. (8) and multiplying through the following observations. Recall that of the three
by a normalization constant denoted as N, it follows that photons, only one, the signal photon, propagates in the
after passing through the phase shifter (PS) at J in Fig. 1 atmosphere; the other two remain internal to the system.
that the state of system of three photons is proportional to a The terms on the right-hand-side of Eq. (14), i.e., the FT
N00N state Uϕ · ½ðaþ þ 3
V Þ − ðaH Þ j0i characterized by both
terms are all multiplied by jtatm j2, whereas the terms on
internal and atmospheric loss. The N00N state takes the form the right-hand-side of Eq. (15), i.e., the ST terms are all
multiplied by jratm j2. Recall from Eqs. (3) and (4) that jtα j2 þ
j3 ∷ 0;1; atm; Ii ∝ U ϕ · fjtatm · t2I j2 · ½ðaþ
3 þ 3
V Þ − ðaH Þ j0i þ : : : g: jrα j2 ¼ 1 for α ¼ “atm” or “I”. So, it follows that jratm j2 ¼
(9) 1 − jtatm j2 . So, the FT terms relate to probabilities of events
where the signal photon is detected after propagating in the
The notation j3 ∷ 0;1; atm; Ii indicates the formation of atmosphere. The ST terms relate to the probabilities of events
a N00N state, i.e., 3 ∷ 0, with one photon traveling in the where the signal photon that propagates in the atmosphere is
atmosphere as denoted by the “1.” The “atm” and “I” labels not detected.
within the ket indicate loss mechanisms internal to the
imager and in the atmosphere. The “. . . ” in Eq. (9) indicate 3 Probabilities of Detection
terms outside of the N00N set fj3;0i; j0;3ig generated by This section provides the derivation of the probability of
½ðaþ þ 3
V Þ − ðaH Þ j0i; these terms carry significant information
detecting three photons with three single photon detectors.
about the loss processes and are included in the density Each single photon detector can detect a specific general

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linearly polarized state. Closed form results for wave func- EN ≡ jN; 0ihN; 0j þ j0; Nih0; Nj:
EQ-TARGET;temp:intralink-;e025;326;752 (25)
tions, normalizations, projection operators, and probabilities
of detection for one to three photons and detection of the From the form of the reduced density matrix, it follows
vacuum state are provided. that the terms in Eq. (15) contribute zero to hP123 ired ≡
trðP123 ρred Þ, which is the probability of three photon detec-
tion. The probability of three photon detection will also be
3.1 Probability of Three Photon Detection denoted as Prob123 , so it follows that:
Consider three one photon detectors where each detects pho-
Prob123 ≡ hP123 ired ≡ trðP123 ρred Þ

tons linearly polarized at angles θ1 , θ2 , and θ3 , with positive

angles measured counterclockwise from the horizontally ¼ 3! · N 2123 · ½trðE30 · ρred Þ þ Q1 · Q2 · trðA3 · ρred Þ
polarized direction. The wave function for three photons
¼ 3! · N 2123 · ½hE30 ired þ Q1 · Q2 · hA3 ired ; (26)
with polarization directions θ1 , θ2 , and θ3 , up to normaliza-
tion is given as
E30 ≡ Q21 · j3;0ih3;0j þ Q22 j0;3ih0;3j; (27)
jψ 123 i ≡ ðα1l aþ þ
H þ α2l aV Þj0i;

EQ-TARGET;temp:intralink-;e016;63;615 (16)
hE30 ired ≡ trðE30 · ρred Þ

where 2 · 3!
¼ · N 2 · jtatm · t2I j2 · ðQ21 þ Q22 Þ; (28)
α1l ≡ cos θl ;
EQ-TARGET;temp:intralink-;e017;63;554 l ¼ 1;2; 3; (17) 9

and and
hA3 ired ≡ trðA3 · ρred Þ

α2l ≡ sin θl ;
EQ-TARGET;temp:intralink-;e018;63;517 l ¼ 1;2; 3: (18)
2 · 3!
Equation (16) can be written as ¼ −2 · · N 2 · jtatm · t2I j2 · cosð3ϕÞ: (29)
Y Y 

3 3
It should be noted in Eq. (26) that the probability of
jψ 123 i ≡ 3! · α1l j3;0i þ α2l j0;3i detecting three photons depends on hA3 ired , which for ϕ ¼ 0
l¼1 l¼1
pffiffiffiffi is referred to as the visibility,1,3
þ 2! · ðα11 α12 α23 þ α11 α22 α13 þ α21 α12 α13 Þj2;1i Substitution of Eqs. (28) and (29) into Eq. (26) yields:
þ 2! · ðα21 α22 α13 þ α21 α12 α23 þ α11 α22 α23 Þj1;2i: Prob123 ¼ hP123 ired

(19) 2 · 3!
¼ · N 2123 · N 2 jtatm t2I j2
0 9
Let the normalized wave function be denoted as jψ 123 i:
· ½Q21 þ Q22 − 2Q1 Q2 cosð3ϕÞ: (30)
jψ 123 i ≡ N 123 jψ 123 i; (20)
So “measuring,” i.e., obtaining reduced trace of P123 is

where N 123 is a normalization constant: equivalent to determining hAired .

Since ðQ1 − Q2 Þ2 ≥ 0 and j cosð3ϕÞj ≤ 1 imply that
P123 ≡ N 2123 jψ 123 ihψ 123 j:
EQ-TARGET;temp:intralink-;e021;63;324 (21) Q21 þ Q22 ≥ 2Q1 Q2 ≥ 2Q1 Q2 cosð3ϕÞ, hence

3 2 Y
3 2  Y
2 Y
Substitution of Eqs. (19) into (21) yields
α1l þ α2l −2 αjl cosð3ϕÞ
P123 ¼ 3! · N 2123 fQ21 j3;0ih3;0j þ Q22 j0;3ih0;3j þ Q1 · Q2 A3

l¼1 l¼1 j¼1 l¼1

þ terms of the form j3;0ih2;1j; j0;3ih2;1j; j3;0ih1;2j; ¼ Q21 þ Q22 − 2Q1 Q2 cosð3ϕÞ ≥ 0: (31)

j0;3ih1;2j; and Hermitian adjoints of these termsg; So, it follows that the expression for Prob123 ¼ hP123 ired
(22) in Eq. (30) is always greater than or equal to zero.
To determine the normalization constant N 123 , make the
following definitions:
Qk ≡
EQ-TARGET;temp:intralink-;e023;63;198 αkl ; k ¼ 1;2; (23) R1 ≡ α11 α12 α23 þ α11 α22 α13 þ α21 α12 α13 ;
EQ-TARGET;temp:intralink-;e032;326;181 (32)

Recall that the standard detection operator for N00N R2 ≡ α21 α22 α13 þ α11 α22 α23 þ α21 α12 α23 :
EQ-TARGET;temp:intralink-;e033;326;151 (33)
states1,3–5 is given as
It follows from Eq. (19) and Eqs. (32) and (33) that
AN ≡ jN; 0ih0; Nj þ j0; NihN; 0j:
EQ-TARGET;temp:intralink-;e024;63;130 (24) EQ-TARGET;temp:intralink-;e034;326;114

jψ 123 i ¼ 3! · ðQ1 j3;0i þ Q2 j0;3iÞ
The following operator and related operators defined later pffiffiffiffi
and denoted with a prime are useful: þ 2! · ðR1 j2;1i þ R2 j1;2iÞ: (34)

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From Eqs. (20) and (34) and the normalization condition γ 21 ≡ sin χ 1 :
EQ-TARGET;temp:intralink-;e045;326;752 (45)
0 0
for jψ 123 i, i.e., 1 ¼ hψ 123 jψ 123 i ¼ N 2123 hψ 123 jψ 123 i, it fol-
lows that: The quantity χ 1 can take any one of the values θl ;
l ¼ 1;2; 3. The normalization denoted as N 1 is unity, i.e.,
EQ-TARGET;temp:intralink-;e035;63;719 N 123 ¼ ½hψ 123 jψ 123 i−1∕2
N 1 ¼ 1: (46)
¼ ½6 · ðQ21 þ Q22 Þ þ 2 · ðR21 þ R22 Þ−1∕2 :

It is also useful to define a quantity E10 as
3.2 Probability of Only Two Photons Being Detected
E10 ≡ γ 211 aþ
2 þ
1 j0ih0ja1 þ γ 21 a2 j0ih0ja2 : (47)
The wave function for two photon detection is given as
It is straightforward to show that the probability of one
photon being detected is
EQ-TARGET;temp:intralink-;e036;63;637 jψ 12 i ≡ ðβ1l aþ þ
H þ β2l aV Þj0i; (36)
Prob1 ¼ trðE10 ρred Þ þ γ 11 γ 21 trðA1 ρred Þ

where ¼ hE10 i þ γ 11 γ 21 hA1 i; (48)

EQ-TARGET;temp:intralink-;e037;63;576 β1l ¼ cos νl ; l ¼ 1;2; (37)
and hE10 i ≡ trðE10 ρred Þ;
EQ-TARGET;temp:intralink-;e049;326;551 (49)
EQ-TARGET;temp:intralink-;e038;63;539 β2l ¼ sin νl ; l ¼ 1;2: (38)
hA1 i ≡ trðA1 ρred Þ; (50)
The quantities νl ; l ¼ 1;2 can take on any two of the three

values θl ; l ¼ 1;2; 3. and

In a fashion analogous to the quantities for detection of
10 2 20

three photons, the probability of detecting two photons is Prob1 ¼ · N jtatm r2I j2 þ · N 2 jratm tI rI j2
given as 9 9
20 2
Prob12 ¼ T 1 þ T 2 ; (39) þ · N γ 11 γ 21 ð2 · jratm tI rI j2 − jtatm r2I j2 Þ cos ϕ: (51)


 3.4 Probability Detecting the Vacuum State

T1 ≡ · N N 12 jtatm rI tI j 2 · ½ðβ11 β12 Þ2 þ ðβ21 β22 Þ2 
2 2 2
It is straightforward to show that the probability of detecting
 the vacuum state is given as
þ 4 · β11 β12 β21 β22 cosð2ϕÞ þ ðβ11 β22 þ β12 β21 Þ2 ; 20
5 Probo ≡
EQ-TARGET;temp:intralink-;e052;326;383 · N 2 jratm j2 jrI j4 : (52)
4 Factorization of a M&M State

T 2 ≡ · N 2 N 212 jratm j2 jtI j4 ½4 · ½ðβ11 β12 Þ2 þ ðβ21 β22 Þ2  This section offers a general method of factoring M&M
9 state operators and by default those operators associated
þ 8 · β11 β12 β21 β22 · cosð2ϕÞ þ ðβ11 β22 þ β12 β21 Þ2 with N00N states. This facilitates a discussion of designs
for devices for generating entangled states at near visible
þ4· βk1 βk2 ðβ11 β22 þ β12 β21 Þ cos ϕ; (41) frequencies.
4.1 Factorization Scheme
Consider the M&M state
EQ-TARGET;temp:intralink-;e042;63;235 N 12 ¼ ½2 · ðβ11 β12 Þ2 þ 2 · ðβ21 β22 Þ2 þ ðβ11 β22 þ β12 β21 Þ2 −1∕2 :
(42) jm ∷ m 0 iab ≡ pffiffiffi ½jm; m 0 iab − jm 0 ; miab ;
EQ-TARGET;temp:intralink-;e053;326;235 (53)
3.3 One Photon Detection Probability where m > m 0 . This state can be written as
For the case that only one photon is detected by one of the

m þ m0 þ m þ m0
three single-photon detectors, the detected state would take jm∶∶m 0 iab ≡ pffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi0 ffi ½ðaþ
a Þ ðab Þ − ðab Þ ðaa Þ j0iab
the form: 2 · m! · m !
1 m0 þ m0 þ m−m 0 − ðaþ Þm−m 0 j0i
jψ 1 i ¼ N 1 ðγ 11 aþ þ
1 þ γ 21 a2 Þj0i; (43) ¼ pffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi0 ffi ðaþ
a Þ ðab Þ ½ðaa Þ b ab
2 · m! · m !

where 1 0
Y0 −1
þ þ m0 þ
¼ pffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi ðaa Þ ðab Þ ·
m ðaþ
a − uk · ab Þj0iab ;
EQ-TARGET;temp:intralink-;e044;63;97 γ 11 ≡ cos χ 1 ; (44) 2 · m! · m 0 ! k¼0

and (54)

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Smith: Polarization-based quantum entanglement for enhanced resolution

where j0iab is the vacuum for arms “a” and “b” of the inter- a wheel with a string attached, bearing can be determined.
ferometer, and uk is the k’th root of unity, i.e., As the wheel is rotated, the line segment LQ points along
  different bearing lines. By attaching a string to the wheel
2π · k so it winds around the wheel when it rotates and attaching
uk ≡ exp i ; k ¼ 0;1; : : : ; m − m 0 − 1; (55)
m − m0 the other end of the string to the detector, different bearings

pffiffiffiffiffiffi correspond to different distances between the photon source

where i ¼ −1. at A and the detector at K. It is easy to set this wheel-string
Observe that assembly up so that the separation distance between A and K
is proportional to the change in bearing indicated by theta in

a − uk · ab Þj0iab ¼ j1;0iab − uk · j0;1iab : (56) Fig. 1. Increasing the separation between A and K changes
the phase in the argument of the cosine term. This permits as
The right side of Eq. (56) up to normalization is a the bearing is changed, the position of different probability
Shrodinger kitten state. of three photon detection maxima to be found. The positions
Let the phase νk be defined as of the probability of three photon detection maxima yield a
measure of the bearing with an error no larger than λ∕ðN · rÞ,
νk ≡
2π · k
; k ¼ 0;1; : : : ; m − m 0 − 1: (57) where λ is the wavelength of each individual photon, r is the
m − m0 radius of the wheel arm LQ is mounted on, and N is the

number of photons entangled, e.g., N ¼ 3 as in Fig. 1. Thus,

It follows from Eqs. (10), (54), (55), and (57) with the the measurement scheme can show both super resolution and
state labels “a” and “b” replaced by the horizontally polar- super sensitivity.1
ized and vertically polarized state labels “H” and “V,” The mirror at R moves in conjunction with arm LOQ to
respectively, that the M&M state can be written as make sure that the single photon that reflects off it arrives at
G at the Brewster angle. Alternatively, the mirror at R could

jm ∷ m 0 iHV ≡ pffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi0 ffi ðaþ m0 þ m0

H Þ ðaV Þ
be eliminated if a fiber optic cable conducts the photon from
2 · m! · m ! P to the right-most sheet of the BK-7 glass so that the photon
Y0 −1
m−m arrives at the Brewster angle. The wheel and string design
· U νk ðaþ þ
H − aV Þj0iHV : (58) are supplied to provide intuition about how entanglement
k¼0 schemes can be used to measure theta.

6 Computational Results
4.2 M&M State Generation
This section provides computational results for the detection
To construct the state represented by Eq. (58) at near-visible of one to three photons and the detection of the vacuum state.
frequencies: For all the figures, it is assumed that a three photon
ð−45; 45; 45Þ degree detection scheme is used. The notation
i. It follows from Eq. (58) that if m 0 horizontally polarized
m0 ð−45; 45; 45Þ implies that three single-photon detectors are
photons corresponding to ðaþ 0
H Þ , m vertically polar-
m 0 are sent to used where θ1 ¼ −45 deg, θ2 ¼ 45 deg, and θ3 ¼ 45 deg
ized photons corresponding to ðaþ V Þ
as in Eqs. (16)–(18). Probabilities of detection as a function
a detector that the part of the state in Eq. (58) corre-
0 0 of phase, internal transmittance and atmospheric transmit-
sponding to ðaþ þ m
H Þ ðaV Þ
m can be created.
tance are given. It is shown that even when there is signifi-
ii. If m − m vertically polarized photons are passed cant loss super resolution is maintained. Super resolution is
through an HWP, they will produce 45-deg polarized defined as measurements that are better than the Rayleigh
photons corresponding to aþ þ
H − aV . If each of these diffraction limit.1 Loss degrades the probability of detection,
45-deg polarized photons are sent through a PS Uνk , not the super resolution provided by quantum entanglement.
then the m − m 0 photons corresponding to the product
Q In Fig. 2, probability of detection versus phase is plotted
m−m 0 −1
k¼0 Uνk ðaþ þ
H − aV Þ can be formed. for the cases of three photon detection, two photon detection,
one photon detection, and vacuum state detection. The values
By combining the operations in items i and ii above, it T I ¼ 0.8 and T atm ¼ 0.1 are assumed. This represents a sig-
follows that the state corresponding to Eq. (58) can be con- nificant amount of loss, 20% internal to the system, and 90%
structed at near-visible frequencies. A general method of pro- external to the system. Since there is a significant amount of
ducing any single particle state at microwave frequencies has atmospheric loss, the probability of detection of three pho-
been demonstrated experimentally.8 By combining this pro- tons is relatively small compared to some of the other cases.
cedure and the methods of items i and ii, it may be possible It should be observed even though the probability of
to generate microwave frequency M&M and hence N00N detecting the three photons is small, the super resolution
states. property is undiminished as is observed in Figs. 2–4.
For the two photon ð−45;45Þ degree case, the coefficient
5 Bearing Measurement, Super Resolution, and of the cosðϕÞ term vanishes, whereas for the (45, 45) degree
Super Sensitivity case, it does not. The notation ð−45;45Þ refers to θ1 ¼
The phase in the argument of the cosine term of the proba- −45 deg and θ2 ¼ 45 deg as in Eqs. (36)–(38). So, for
bility of three photons being detected [Eq. (30)] can be used the two photon ð−45;45Þ detection, the only ϕ dependence
to determine bearing. The bearing is the angle between two that the probability has is cosð2ϕÞ. For the two photon
objects. If the LQ arm in Fig. 1 that has the single photon (45, 45) detection case, the ϕ dependences are cosð2ϕÞ and
propagating into the external environment is mounted on cosðϕÞ. The cosð2ϕÞ and cosðϕÞ terms interfere destructively.

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Smith: Polarization-based quantum entanglement for enhanced resolution

3 Photons So, the two photon ð−45; 45Þ case and two photon (45, 45)
2 Photons ( -45,45) case have different maxima and minima.
2 Photons (45,45) In Fig. 2, the probability of detecting one photon is some-
0.4 1 Photon ( -45)
times lower than the probability of detecting two photons.
1 Photon (45)
This can be understood in the following way. The probability

of detecting two photons refers to the probability of detecting
0.3 exactly two photons. The probability of detecting one photon
refers to the probability of detecting exactly one photon.
Similar statements hold for the detection of zero or three
0.2 photons.
Since the type II parametric down converted photons
are only subject to internal loss, i.e., relatively low loss, the
probability of detecting two photons is higher than that of
detecting only one photon. The probability of losing one
0 or two of the down converted photons is low.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 Additional intuition can be developed by considering an
Phase extreme case. Recall that there are two internal photons propa-
gating and only one signal photon. When the probability of
Fig. 2 Probability of photon detection versus phase. θ1 ¼ −45 deg,
θ2 ¼ 45 deg, and θ3 ¼ 45 deg, T I ¼ 0.8, and T atm ¼ 0.1. losing an internal photon is near zero and the probability
of the single signal photon that propagates in the atmosphere
being detected is near zero, then the probability of detecting
exactly two photons is very high. The probability of detecting
T atm=0.1
0.4 T atm=0.2
only one photon is near zero because of the low probability of
T atm=0.3 losing an internal photon. So, the probability of detecting
0.35 T atm=0.4 exactly two photons is significantly higher in this case than
T atm=0.5
the probability of detecting one photon or three photons.
0.3 T atm=0.6
Figure 3 is a plot of probability of three photon detection

0.25 versus phase for six values of the atmospheric transmittance.

The atmospheric transmittance, T atm , takes values ranging
0.2 from 0.1 to 0.6 in increments of 0.1. For the internal trans-
mittance, the value T I ¼ 0.95 is taken. The positions of
0.15 maxima and minima are indicative of resolution associated
0.1 with this scheme, i.e., three times classical resolution. It is
observed that all six curves have their maxima and minima
0.05 for the same values of phase. This implies as the amount of
loss increases that the resolution improvement offered by
0 entanglement does not diminish. Loss does not diminish res-
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Phase (Radians) olution, but it does significantly decrease the probability of
detection. For T atm ¼ 0.6, the maximum probability of detec-
Fig. 3 Probability of photon detection versus phase. θ1 ¼ −45 deg, tion is ∼0.45. For T atm ¼ 0.1, the maximum probability of
θ2 ¼ 45 deg, and θ3 ¼ 45 deg, T I ¼ 0.95. detection is <0.1. During an actual imaging application of
this target, lower probability of detection would mean greater
measurement time.
T atm=0.1 In Fig. 4, the same values of T atm are used, giving rise to
T atm=0.2 six curves. From Figs. 3 to 4, the value of the internal trans-
0.25 T atm=0.3 mittance diminishes. Maxima and minima remain at the
T atm=0.4
same position as in Fig. 3. This has been observed for many
T atm=0.5
T atm=0.6
values of T I . The effect of the increased internal loss is to
diminish probabilities of detection. In Fig. 4 for T I ¼
0.75, the maximum probabilities of detection for each curve

0.15 can be <67% of the observed values for T I ¼ 0.95 in Fig. 3.

Thus, internal loss can play a significant role in changing
the probability of detection.

7 Multiphoton Entanglement and

This section describes other forms of entanglement. These
0 include forms of entanglement already discussed, e.g., N00N
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Phase (Radians) states and M&M states. Additional entangled states that will
be discussed are linear combinations of N00N states (LCNS),
Fig. 4 Probability of photon detection versus phase. θ1 ¼ −45 deg, linear combinations of M&M states (LCMMS),3,9–11 hyper-
θ2 ¼ 45 deg, and θ3 ¼ 45 deg, T I ¼ 0.75. entangled (HE) states,12–27 and hybrid states formed by

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Smith: Polarization-based quantum entanglement for enhanced resolution

combining multiphoton entangled (MPE) states with hyper- improvements in SNR, SIR, TOT, and QCRLB can exceed
entangled states.28 Multiphoton states refer to states where 10,000. Improvements in sensing and communications range
three or more photons are entangled in one DOF. A DOF can can exceed 10 and 100, respectively. The improvement in
be polarization, energy-time (ET), orbital angular momen- the Holevo bound can be >12 additional bits carried by each
tum,29,30 radial quantum number,31 frequency,32 etc. HE signal photon.23,28
states refer to entanglement of photons, generally in two It is possible to combine MPE with hyperentanglement.
or more DOFs. By using an jN ∷ 1i state, i.e., initially N signal photons and
MPE states, as discussed in previous sections, can offer one ancilla photon, that are initially entangled in polarization
improvement in resolution. If N photons are entangled, each followed by entanglement in other DOFs, such as ET, it is
with electromagnetic wavelength λ, then sensing and imag- possible to offer significant additional improvements in the
ing can be done using a wavelength that is effectively3–5 λ∕N. measures of effectiveness (MOEs) described above. The
If the resolution that the wavelength λ offers is satisfactory, improvement factor for SNR and SIR in this case is N · d;
then the size of lenses can be reduced by a factor of N. maximum sensing range experiences an improvement factor
This can be a useful feature for missions where mass or size proportional to ðN · dÞ1∕4 ; maximum communications range
limitation are important, e.g., space applications.33 is improved by a factor proportional to ðN · dÞ1∕2 ; the
States like N00N states can be fragile when subjected QCRLB improves, i.e., gets smaller by a factor proportional
to environmental loss.3–5,9–11,34,35 This does not mean that to N 2 · d; TOT is reduced by a likewise desirable factor pro-
sensing and imaging cannot be done. It generally means that portional to N 2 · d and the Holevo bound’s improvement
many signal photons must be transmitted to produce the goes as N · log2 ðdÞ.28 So, it is observed that by combining
desired results. The number of required photons needed MPE with hyperentanglement, significant amounts of addi-
for transmission is estimated using the quantum Chernoff tional utility are obtained. Combining MPE with hyperentan-
bound.9,15,18,21–23,26,36 Transmission over time of additional glement can offer significant opportunities for tradeoff
signal photons increases measurement time, referred to as between the two concepts while retaining high MOE values.
time-on-target20,22 (TOT). This can prove to be a liability For example, for N ¼ 5 and a modest Hilbert space of
for a variety of reasons.20,22 dimensionality d ¼ 1000, it follows that the Holevo bound’s
Some MPE states are more robust than others. M&M improvement can be 50 bits.23,28
states are significantly more robust than the corresponding Additional improvements can be introduced by combin-
N00N state.3,9–11,34,35 This robustness helps M&M states ing MPE states, HE states, and networks.40–42 The networks
to survive more effectively in the presence of loss mecha- can be of a classical or quantum nature. If each output node
on the network has M transmitter detector pairs, then the
nisms than N00N states, subsequently reducing TOT. Linear
improvement factors for SNR and SIR are proportional to
combinations of M&M states are significantly more robust
M · N · d; TOT and QCRLB are reduced by the desirable
than the corresponding M&M state or N00N state,9 further
factor proportional to M · N 2 · d; the sensing range and com-
facilitating sensing and imaging with low TOT.
munication range improvement factors are proportional to
HE states typically involve a signal and ancilla photon
ðM · N · dÞ1∕4 and ðM · N · dÞ1∕2 , respectively. The relative
entangled in at least two DOFs. These states can be used
Holevo bound improvement compared to classical goes as
for sensing20–22 or communications.13,14,21,27 When used
M · N · log2 ðdÞ per transmitted signal photon.23,28
for sensing, HE offers the advantage that it results in under-
lying Hilbert spaces of large dimensionality denoted20–22,26
as d. Let the classical system, i.e., a single-photon imaging 8 Conclusions
system have signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) denoted as SNRc . Quantum entanglement results in super resolution, i.e., res-
Let the sensing system using HE have an SNR denoted by olution beating the Rayleigh diffraction limit. For three
SNRHE . It can be shown mathematically that for entangled26 entangled photons forming a N00N state, resolution is
or hyperentangled systems20–22 that the improvement in SNR improved by a factor of three. Resolution is never degraded
over classical is proportional to d. In other words, SNRHE ∼ as loss increases. Even with 25% internal loss and 90%
d · SNRc .20–22 The tilde “∼” is read as “goes as,” i.e., there atmospheric loss, super resolution is maintained and maxi-
can be an additional proportionality factor. Likewise, let mum probabilities of detection of ∼5% are observed. Low
TOTHE and TOTc denote the TOT for the hyperentangled probability of detection will increase measurement time
system and the classical system, respectively, then TOTHE ∼ but still holds promise for super resolution applications in
TOTc ∕d.20–22 Many other measures of effectiveness are im- imaging.
proved by using HE. These include the signal-to-interference A generalized procedure for producing M&M states
ratio (SIR), where using analogous notation, SIRHE ∼ d · is discussed. M&M states are more robust than the corre-
SIRc ; maximum sensing range that experiences an improve- sponding N00N state. Linear combinations of M&M states
ment by a factor proportional to d1∕4 ; maximum communi- are more robust than the corresponding M&M state. By com-
cation range whose improvement factor is proportional to bining MPE with hyperentanglement, significant additional
d1∕2 ; the quantum Cramer Rao lower bound (QCRLB), utility can be gained for both sensing and imaging systems.
a lower bound on the variance of quantities estimate,37,38
which is made smaller by a factor of d by HE, a highly desir- References
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Optical Engineering 082411-8 August 2019 • Vol. 58(8)

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(2007). glement, and quantum networks for enhanced sensing,” Proc. SPIE
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sensitivity, and resolution using robust entangled states,” Opt. Eng. the radial modes of Laguerre–Gaussbeams,” arXiv:1306.6517 (2013).
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for quantum imaging,” Proc. SPIE 8057, 805708 (2011). 34. C. C. Gerry and R. A. Campos, “Generation of maximally entangled
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hyper-entangled and entangled states,” Proc. SPIE 8400, 840011 Information, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2000).
(2012). 40. N. Sangouard et al., “Quantum repeaters based on atomic ensembles
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20. J. F. Smith, III, “Improving detection range, signal-to-noise ratio, and
measurement time through hyperentanglement,” Opt. Eng. 56(7), James F. Smith III is a theoretical physicist and has conducted
071511 (2017). research for over 27 years at the Naval Research Laboratory. He
21. J. F. Smith, III, “Enhanced sensing and communication via quantum has about 150 peer-reviewed publications in areas of theoretical
networks,” Proc. SPIE 10188, 101880I (2017). physics, applied mathematics, and related engineering topics. His
22. J. F. Smith, III, “Using hyperentanglement to enhance resolution, signal-
to-noise ratio, and measurement time,” Opt. Eng. 56(3), 031210 (2016). research interests include, but are not limited to, quantum information
23. J. F. Smith, III, “Enhanced communication through quantum hyper- theory, mathematical techniques, quantum sensing/imaging, and
entanglement,” Proc. SPIE 10660, 106600I (2018). quantum networks. He has conceived of a class of imaging/detec-
24. M. Agnew et al., “Tomography of the quantum state of photons tion/sensing devices and quantum networks based on quantum
entangled in high dimensions,” Phys. Rev. A 84, 062101 (2011). hyperentanglement.

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