Non-Destructive Photon Sensing

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Intechopen 2018 book "Photon Counting - Fundamentals and Applications" has a chapter "Quantum Non-Demolition Measurement of Photons" (QND) by Keyu Xia from Nanjing University, Nanjing, China. The chapter reviews the possible ways to detect photons without absorbing them that can open a number of interesting opportunities in photon sensing:

"QND measurement opens a door for precise measurement and versatile applications in photon-based quantum information processing. In principle, QND measurement enables repeated measurement of photon number, n, of a light beam. Because QND measurement does not disturb the photon number of light, it allows one to measure the photon number many times. This can surpass the standard quantum limit bounded by the “shot-noise” and allows to measure light with ultrahigh sensitivity. QND measurement down to the single photon level further enables potential application in quantum information processing. Remarkably, when a single signal photon can induce a π phase shift to another probe photon, the scheme for QND measurement essentially has the potential to implement a quantum controlled-phase gate between these two photonic modes. This kind of gate is a universal quantum gate for quantum computation. Another important application is to squeeze light via QND measurement. Although QND measurement has been well studied theoretically and has been realized in experiments, it is still questioned in its interpretation [31]. Monroe comments that photons can be independently generated once a signal photon is detected via absorption. He claims that the concept of QND measurement is confusing and should be demolished. However, his comments are also questionable. Squeezing light through QND measurement cannot be realized by simply generating photons according to the detection events. In summary, the concept of QND measurement applied to photons promises of great applications in quantum measurement. The progress approaching the single photon level may provide a simple router for implementing quantum information processing [32] or even quantum telescope [33]."

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