Towards the Fundamental Quantum Limit of Linear Measurements of Classical Signals
AbstractThe quantum Cramér-Rao bound (QCRB) sets a fundamental limit for the measurement of classical signals with detectors operating in the quantum regime. Using linear-response theory and the Heisenberg uncertainty relation, we derive a general condition for achieving such a fundamental limit. When applied to classical displacement measurements with a test mass, this condition leads to an explicit connection between the QCRB and the standard quantum limit that arises from a tradeoff between the measurement imprecision and quantum backaction; the QCRB can be viewed as an outcome of a quantum nondemolition measurement with the backaction evaded. Additionally, we show that the test mass is more a resource for improving measurement sensitivity than a victim of the quantum backaction, which suggests a new approach to enhancing the sensitivity of a broad class of sensors. We illustrate these points with laser interferometric gravitational-wave detectors.