Coherence in quantum estimation

Research paper by Paolo Giorda, Michele Allegra

Indexed on: 08 Nov '16Published on: 08 Nov '16Published in: arXiv - Quantum Physics


The geometry of quantum states provides a unifying framework for estimation processes based on quantum probes, and it allows to derive the ultimate bounds of the achievable precision. We show a relation between the statistical distance between infinitesimally close quantum states and the second order variation of the coherence of the optimal measurement basis with respect to the state of the probe. In Quantum Phase Estimation protocols, this leads to identify coherence as the relevant resource that one has to engineer and control to optimize the estimation precision. Furthermore, the main object of the theory i.e., the Symmetric Logarithmic Derivative, in many cases allows to identify a proper factorization of the whole Hilbert space in two subsystems. The factorization allows: to discuss the role of coherence vs correlations in estimation protocols; to show how certain estimation processes can be completely or effectively described within a single-qubit subsystem; and to derive lower bounds for the scaling of the estimation precision with the number of probes used. We illustrate how the framework works for both noiseless and noisy estimation procedures, in particular those based multi-qubit GHZ-states. Finally we succinctly analyze estimation protocols based on zero-temperature critical behaviour. We identify the coherence that is at the heart of their efficiency, and we show how it exhibits the non-analyticities and scaling behaviour proper of a large class of quantum phase transitions.