Research ArticlePHYSICS

Experimental quantum reading with photon counting

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Science Advances  20 Jan 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 4, eabc7796
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abc7796


The final goal of quantum hypothesis testing is to achieve quantum advantage over all possible classical strategies. In the protocol of quantum reading, this is achieved for information retrieval from an optical memory, whose generic cell stores a bit of information in two possible lossy channels. We show, theoretically and experimentally, that quantum advantage is obtained by practical photon-counting measurements combined with a simple maximum-likelihood decision. In particular, we show that this receiver combined with an entangled two-mode squeezed vacuum source is able to outperform any strategy based on statistical mixtures of coherent states for the same mean number of input photons. Our experimental findings demonstrate that quantum entanglement and simple optics are able to enhance the readout of digital data, paving the way to real applications of quantum reading and with potential applications for any other model that is based on the binary discrimination of bosonic loss.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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