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James W. Gardner, Tuvia Gefen, Simon A. Haine, Joseph J. Hope, John Preskill, Yanbei Chen, Lee McCuller (Apr 23 2024).

Abstract: Although measuring the deterministic waveform of a weak classical force is a well-studied problem, estimating a random waveform, such as the spectral density of a stochastic signal field, is much less well-understood despite it being a widespread task at the frontier of experimental physics. State-of-the-art precision sensors of random forces must account for the underlying quantum nature of the measurement, but the optimal quantum protocol for interrogating such linear sensors is not known. We derive the fundamental precision limit, the extended channel quantum Cramér-Rao bound, and the optimal protocol that attains it. In the experimentally relevant regime where losses dominate, we prove that non-Gaussian state preparation and measurements are required for optimality. We discuss how this non-Gaussian protocol could improve searches for signatures of quantum gravity, stochastic gravitational waves, and axionic dark matter.

Arxiv: https://arxiv.org/abs/2404.13867