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The amplification obtained using weak values is quantified through a detailed investigation of the signal-to-noise ratio for an optical beam-deflection measurement. We show that for a given deflection, input power and beam radius, the use of interferometric weak values allows one to obtain the optimum signal-to-noise ratio using a coherent beam. This method has the advantage of reduced technical noise and allows for the use of detectors with a low saturation intensity. We report on an experiment which improves the signal-to-noise ratio for a beam-deflection measurement by a factor of 54 when compared to a measurement using the same beam size and a quantum-limited detector.


This article was originally published in Physical Review A, volume 80, issue 4, in 2009.

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American Physical Society

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