Optomechanical systems are rapidly becoming one of the most promising platforms for observing quantum behaviour, especially at the macroscopic level. Moreover, thanks to their state-of-the-art methods of fabrication, they may now enter regimes of non-linear interactions between their constituent mechanical and optical degrees of freedom. In this work, we show how this novel opportunity may serve to construct a new generation of optomechanical sensors. We consider the canonical optomechanical setup with the detection scheme being based on time-resolved counting of photons leaking from the cavity. By performing simulations and resorting to Bayesian inference, we demonstrate that the non-classical correlations of the detected photons may crucially enhance the sensor performance in real time. We believe that our work may stimulate a new direction in the design of such devices, while our methods apply also to other platforms exploiting non-linear light-matter interactions and photon detection.
Meanwhile, techniques involving continuous monitoring of a system for quantum sensing tasks have been demonstrated to be highly effective. Here, instead of preparing the system in a specific state and performing an optimum single-shot measurement, the system is allowed to evolve over time and its emission statistics are monitored. By doing so, an unknown system parameter can be well estimated, even from a single quantum trajectory.
Here, we combine these two observations by using the photon statistics of a non-linear optomechanical system to estimate unknown parameters, such as the optomechanical coupling strength. We see how the non-classical statistics of the non-linear optomechanical system produce excellent results from just a single quantum trajectory, even with a relatively low number of photon emissions. Utilising the techniques of Bayesian inference, a posterior distribution can be obtained and compared with the sensing performance of an optimum single-shot measurement. We demonstrate that after a sufficient amount of time, our continuous monitored system is capable of outperforming a system measured with a single-shot measurement, and provide useful insight into designing potential novel sensing schemes for optomechanical devices.
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