Quantum super-resolution imaging and hypothesis testing

Ugo Zanforlin, Cosmo Lupo, Peter W. R. Connolly, Pieter Kok, Gerald S. Buller, Zixin Huang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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Detecting the faint emission of a secondary source in the proximity of the much brighter one has been the most severe obstacle for using direct imaging in searching for exoplanets. Estimating the angular separation between two incoherent thermal sources is a also challenging task for direct imaging. Here, we experimentally demonstrate two tasks for super-resolution imaging based on hypothesis testing, quantum state discrimination and quantum imaging techniques. We show that one can significantly reduce the probability of error for detecting the presence of a weak secondary source (e.g. a planet), especially when the two sources have small angular separations. We reduce the experimental complexity down to a single two-input interferometer: we show that (1) this simple set-up is suffficient for the state discrimination task, and (2) if the two sources are of equal brightness, then this measurement can super-resolve their angular separation, saturating the quantum Cramér-Rao bound. By using a collection baseline of 5.3 mm, we resolve the angular separation of two sources that are placed 15 µm apart at a distance of 1.0 m with an accuracy of 1:7% - this is between 2 to 3 orders of magnitudes more accurate than shot-noise limited direct imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhotonics for Quantum 2023
EditorsDonald F. Figer, Michael Reimer
ISBN (Electronic)9781510664760
ISBN (Print)9781510664753
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2023
EventPhotonics for Quantum 2023 - Rochester, United States
Duration: 5 Jun 20238 Jun 2023

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferencePhotonics for Quantum 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • quantum imaging
  • quantum metrology
  • super-resolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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