Ultimate limits for quantum magnetometry via time-continuous measurements


We address the estimation of the magnetic field B acting on an ensemble of atoms with total spin J subjected to collective transverse noise. By preparing an initial spin coherent state, for any measurement performed after the evolution, the mean-square error of the estimate is known to scale as 1/J, i.e. no quantum enhancement is obtained. Here, we consider the possibility of continuously monitoring the atomic environment, and conclusively show that strategies based on time-continuous non-demolition measurements followed by a final strong measurement may achieve Heisenberg-limited scaling 1/J 2 and also a quantum-enhanced scaling in terms of the interrogation time. We also find that time-continuous schemes are robust against detection losses, as we prove that the quantum enhancement can be recovered also for finite measurement efficiency. Finally, we analytically prove the optimality of our strategy.

New J. Phys. 19, 123011