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The technical merits of weak-value-amplification techniques are analyzed. We consider models of several different types of technical noise in an optical context and show that weak-value-amplification techniques (which only use a small fraction of the photons) compare favorably with standard techniques (which use all of them). Using the Fisher-information metric, we demonstrate that weak-value techniques can put all of the Fisher information about the detected parameter into a small portion of the events and show how this fact alone gives technical advantages. We go on to consider a time-correlated noise model and find that a Fisher-information analysis indicates that the standard method can have much larger information about the detected parameter than the postselected technique. However, the estimator needed to gather the information is technically difficult to implement, showing that the inefficient (but practical) signal-to-noise estimation of the parameter is usually superior. We also describe other technical advantages unique to imaginary weak-value-amplification techniques, focusing on beam-deflection measurements. In this case, we discuss combined noise types (such as detector transverse jitter, angular beam jitter before the interferometer, and turbulence) for which the interferometric weak-value technique gives higher Fisher information over conventional methods. We go on to calculate the Fisher information of the recently proposed photon-recycling scheme for beam-deflection measurements and show it further boosts the Fisher information by the inverse postselection probability relative to the standard measurement case.


This article was originally published in Physical Review X, volume 4, issue 1, in 2013.

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American Physical Society

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