Noise limits on two-photon interferometric sensing

Hamish Scott, Dominic Branford, Niclas Westerberg, Jonathan Leach, Erik M. Gauger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


When a photon interferes with itself while traversing a Mach-Zehnder interferometer, the output port where it emerges is influenced by the phase difference between the interferometer arms. This allows for highly precise estimation of the path length difference (delay) but is extremely sensitive to phase noise. By contrast, a delay between the arms of the two-photon Hong-Ou-Mandel interferometer directly affects the relative indistinguishability of the photon pair, affecting the rate of recorded coincidences. This likewise allows for delay estimation, notably less precise but with the advantage of being less sensitive to perturbations of the photons' phase. Focusing on two-photon input states, we here investigate to what degree of noise Mach-Zehnder interferometry retains its edge over Hong-Ou-Mandel interferometry. We also explore the competing benefits of different two-photon inputs for a Mach-Zehnder interferometer and under what parameter regimes each input performs best.
Original languageEnglish
Article number053704
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2021


  • quant-ph

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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