Some of the most exotic properties of the quantum vacuum are predicted in ultrastrongly coupled photon–atom systems; one such property is quantum squeezing leading to suppressed quantum fluctuations of photons and atoms. This squeezing is unique because (1) it is realized in the ground state of the system and does not require external driving, and (2) the squeezing can be perfect in the sense that quantum fluctuations of certain observables are completely suppressed. Specifically, we investigate the ground state of the Dicke model, which describes atoms collectively coupled to a single photonic mode, and we found that the photon–atom fluctuation vanishes at the onset of the superradiant phase transition in the thermodynamic limit of an infinite number of atoms. Moreover, when a finite number of atoms is considered, the variance of the fluctuation around the critical point asymptotically converges to zero, as the number of atoms is increased. In contrast to the squeezed states of flying photons obtained using standard generation protocols with external driving, the squeezing obtained in the ground state of the ultrastrongly coupled photon–atom systems is resilient against unpredictable noise.
The nature of dark matter is unknown and calls for a systematical search. For axion dark matter, such a search relies on finding feeble random noise arising from the weak coupling between dark matter and microwave haloscopes. We model such process as a quantum channel and derive the fundamental precision limit of noise sensing. An entanglement-assisted strategy based on two-mode squeezed vacuum is thereby demonstrated optimal, while the optimality of a single-mode squeezed vacuum is found limited to the lossless case. We propose a “nulling” measurement (squeezing and photon counting) to achieve the optimal performances. In terms of the scan rate, even with 20-decibel of strength, single-mode squeezing still underperforms the vacuum limit which is achieved by photon counting on vacuum input; while the two-mode squeezed vacuum provides large and close-to-optimum advantage over the vacuum limit, thus more exotic quantum resources are no longer required. Our results highlight the necessity of entanglement assistance and microwave photon counting in dark matter search.
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- npj Quantum Information
- Nature Publishing Group
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- National Science Foundation
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