14 October 2016 PhD Thesis Defense
VITO GIOVANNI LUCIVERO \'Quantum Metrology with High-Density Atomic Vapors and Squeezed States of Light\'


Friday, October 14, 16:00. ICFO Auditorium Nowadays there is a considerable progress in optical magnetometry and spin noise spectroscopy, which use magnetically-sensitive atomic ensembles and optical read-out, approaching the limits set by quantum mechanics. In recent years optical magnetometers have become the most sensitive instruments for measuring low-frequency magnetic fields, achieving sub-femtotesla sensitivity and surpassing the competitive superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDs), and have found applications in biomedicine, geophysics, space science as well as in tests of fundamental physics. Another emerging technique is spin noise spectroscopy (SNS), which allows one to determine physical properties of an unperturbed spin system from its power noise spectrum. In the last decade technological advances like real-time spectrum analyzers and shot-noise-limited detectors have allowed improvements in the sensitivity of spin noise detection leading to a broad range of applications in both atomic and solid state physics. The main goal of this thesis is to address a major outstanding question: whether squeezed light can improve the sensitivity of atomic sensors under optimal sensitivity conditions, typically in a high-density regime due to the statistical advantage of using more atoms. Firstly, we describe the design, construction and characterization of a new versatile experimental apparatus for the study of squeezed-light atomic spectroscopy within a high-density regime (n=¿10¿^12 ¿cm¿^(-3)) and low-noise (¿pT/vHz) magnetic environment. The new experimental system is combined with an existing source of polarization squeezed light based on spontaneous parametric down conversion (SPDC) in a nonlinear crystal, which is the active medium of an optical parametric oscillator. Secondly, we report the first experimental demonstration of quantum-enhanced spin noise spectroscopy of natural abundance Rb via polarization squeezing of the probe beam. We found that input squeezing of 3.0 dB improves the signal-to-noise ratio by 1.5 dB to 2.6 dB over the combined (power¿number density) ranges (0.5 mW to 4.0 mW) ¿ (1.5 ׿10¿^12 ¿cm¿^(-3) to 1.3 ׿10¿^13 ¿cm¿^(-3)), covering the ranges used in optimized spin noise spectroscopy experiments. We also show that squeezing improves the trade-off between statistical sensitivity and broadening effects. Next, we introduce a novel theoretical model by defining a standard quantum limit (SQL) for optically-detected noise spectroscopy, identified as a bound to the covariance of the parameters estimated by fitting power noise spectra. We test the model for spin noise spectroscopy of natural abundance Rb and we demonstrate experimental performance of SNS at the SQL for a coherent probe and below the SQL for a polarization squeezed probe. Finally, we report an optical magnetometer based on amplitude modulated optical rotation (AMOR), using a 85Rb vapor cell, that achieves room temperature sensitivity of 70 fT/vHz at 7.6 µT and we demonstrate its photon shot-noise-limited (SNL) behaviour from 5 µT to 75 µT. While no quantum resources of light were used in this second experiment, the combination of best sensitivity, in the class of room-temperature scalar magnetometers, and SNL operation makes the system a promising candidate for application of squeezed light to an optimized optical magnetometer with best-in-class sensitivity.

Friday, October 14, 16:00. ICFO Auditorium
Thesis Director: Prof Dr Morgan W Mitchell