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Entanglement-enhanced optomechanical sensing

Abstract

Optomechanical systems have been exploited in ultrasensitive measurements of force, acceleration and magnetic fields. The fundamental limits for optomechanical sensing have been extensively studied and now well understood—the intrinsic uncertainties of the bosonic optical and mechanical modes, together with backaction noise arising from interactions between the two, dictate the standard quantum limit. Advanced techniques based on non-classical probes, in situ ponderomotive squeezed light and backaction-evading measurements have been developed to overcome the standard quantum limit for individual optomechanical sensors. An alternative, conceptually simpler approach to enhance optomechanical sensing rests on joint measurements taken by multiple sensors. In this configuration, a pathway to overcome the fundamental limits in joint measurements has not been explored. Here we demonstrate that joint force measurements taken with entangled probes on multiple optomechanical sensors can improve the bandwidth in the thermal-noise-dominant regime or the sensitivity in the shot-noise-dominant regime. Moreover, we quantify the overall performance of entangled probes with the sensitivity–bandwidth product and observe a 25% increase compared with that of classical probes. The demonstrated entanglement-enhanced optomechanical sensors would enable new capabilities for inertial navigation, acoustic imaging and searches for new physics.

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Fig. 1: Experimental scheme and measurement power spectra.
Fig. 2: Entanglement-enhanced versus classical optomechanical sensing.
Fig. 3: Sensitivity and bandwidth reconfigured by resonant frequency difference.
Fig. 4: Sensitivity-bandwidth product as a figure of merit for joint force measurements.
Fig. 5: Incoherent force sensing.

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Data availability

The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from the corresponding authors upon reasonable request.

Code availability

The code used for modelling the data is available from Y.X. upon reasonable request.

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Acknowledgements

Z.Z. acknowledges the Office of Naval Research (grant no. N00014-19-1-2190) for their support. Y.X., A.R.A., C.M.P., D.J.W., Q.Z. and Z.Z. acknowledge the National Science Foundation Convergence Accelerator award nos. 2040575 and 2134830. Y.X., A.J.B., Z.L., Q.Z. and Z.Z. acknowledge support from US Department of Energy, Office of Science, National Quantum Information Science Research Centers, Superconducting Quantum Materials and Systems Center (SQMS), under contract no. DE-AC02-07CH11359. Q.Z. acknowledges support from Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) under the Young Faculty Award (YFA) grant no. N660012014029 and NSF CAREER Award no. 2142882.

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Y.X., D.J.W. and Z.Z. conceived and designed the experiments. Y.X. performed the experiments. Y.X., D.J.W. and Z.Z. analysed the data. A.R.A., C.M.P. and D.J.W. designed and fabricated the silicon nitride membrane devices. A.J.B., Z.L. and Q.Z. contributed to the analysis tools. Z.Z. supervised the project. All the authors contributed to the writing of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Yi Xia or Zheshen Zhang.

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Xia, Y., Agrawal, A.R., Pluchar, C.M. et al. Entanglement-enhanced optomechanical sensing. Nat. Photon. 17, 470–477 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41566-023-01178-0

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