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Single-Photon Signal Sideband Detection for High-Power Michelson Interferometers

McCuller, Lee (2022) Single-Photon Signal Sideband Detection for High-Power Michelson Interferometers. . (Unpublished)

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The Michelson interferometer is a cornerstone of experimental physics. Its applications range from providing first impressions of wave interference in educational settings to probing spacetime at minuscule precision scales. Interferometer precision provides a unique view of the fundamental medium of matter and energy, enabling tests for new physics as well as searches for the gravitational wave signatures of distant astrophysical events. Optical interferometers are typically operated by continuously measuring the power at their output port. Signal perturbations then create sideband fields, forming a beat-note with the fringe light that modulates that power. When operated at a nearly-dark destructive interference fringe, this readout is a form of homodyne detection, with an imprecision set by a "standard quantum limit" attributed to shot noise from quantum vacuum fluctuations. The sideband signal fields carry energy which can, alternatively, be directly observed as photons distinct from the source laser. Without signal energy, vacuum does not form sidebands and cannot spuriously create photon counts or shot noise. Thus, counting can offer improved statistics when searching for weak signals when classical backgrounds are below the standard quantum limit. Here, photon counting statistics are described for optical interferometry, relating the two forms of measurement and showing cases where counting greatly outperforms homodyne readout, even with squeezed state quantum enhancement. The most immediate application for photon counting is improving searches of stochastic signals, such as from quantum gravity or from new particle fields. The advantages of counting may extend to wider applications, such as gravitational wave detectors, and the concept of Fisher-information representative spectral density is introduced to motivate further study.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Discussion Paper)
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URLURL TypeDescription Paper
McCuller, Lee0000-0003-0851-0593
Additional Information:Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0). LM gratefully acknowledges helpful comments and discussions from Chris Stoughton, Jocelyn Read, Rana Adhikari, and Yanbei Chen. This research towards the GQuEST experiment is supported by the Heising-Simons Foundation through grant 2022-3341.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Heising-Simons Foundation2022-3341
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20230105-210412048
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:118681
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:05 Jan 2023 21:33
Last Modified:02 Jun 2023 01:29

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