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Distributed fiber optic sensing applies an entangled quantum network

FBG sensors for quantum networkQuantum-enhanced metrology is regarded as a popular area of research for years because of its promising applications, varying from atomic clocks to biological imaging. According to the researches, a non-standard distributed sensing system offers significant advantages compared to traditional fiber optic systems.

These researches help a team of scientists from Denmark to carry out an experiment on distributed fiber optic sensing and the benefits of employing an entangled quantum network to detect an averaged phase shift among numerous distributed sensing nodes. The fiber optic sensing technology uses several methods that enable collecting more accurate measurements in different areas.

The purpose of the new study is based on squeezed light and homodyne detection that is now established distributed fiber optic sensing techniques. The team aims at “measurement of a global property of numerous spatially separated objects and investigate whether probing these objects simultaneously with entangled light led to more accurate results than probing them individually”. 

Thus, the application of a quantum network to probe the objects simultaneously allows distributed sensing systems with far higher accuracy than that attainable when examining probes individually. To be more precise, the team measures the phase shifts (set with wave plates to a known value) by the fiber optic system that sends a weak laser beam through and detects the change in the light’s phase quadrature with homodyne detectors.

The benefit of applying distributed fiber optic sensing plays a really important role when it is necessary to measure the property of numerous objects connected in an optical network. Nevertheless, the losses in the network and detectors are required to be kept low in order to successfully raise the accuracy, alternatively, the quantum benefit of distributed sensing disappears.

The researchers succeeded in the experimental demonstration of the benefits connected with employing multi-mode entanglement for distributed fiber optic sensing. The thing is that the benefits have been previously predicted, however, only highly idealized scenarios and experimentally very difficult probe states or detection methods were taken into consideration. The developed fiber optic system demonstrates that these benefits are available even with current noisy sensing technology.

The fiber optic system finds potential applications in various areas of research and technology development. For instance, they provide a high sensitivity of molecular tracking devices, atomic clocks, and optical magnetometry methods. Moreover, the distributed fiber optic sensing gives valuable information about how quantum-enhanced metrology can be reached utilizing readily accessible technologies, for example, squeezed light generation and homodyne detection.

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