Breaking through the resolution barrier with quantum-limited precision

Breaking through the resolution barrier with quantum-limited precision (Credit: Universität Paderborn)

Researchers at Paderborn University have developed a new method of distance measurement for systems such as GPS, which achieves more precise results than ever before.

Using quantum physics, the team has successfully overcome the so-called resolution limit, which causes the ‘noise‘ we may see in photos, for example.

They have presented a temporal-mode demultiplexing scheme that achieves the ultimate quantum precision for the simultaneous estimation of the temporal centroid, the time offset, and the relative intensities of an incoherent mixture of ultrashort pulses at the single-photon level.

They experimentally resolved temporal separations 10 times smaller than the pulse duration, as well as imbalanced intensities differing by a factor of 102. This represents an improvement of more than an order of magnitude over the best standard methods based on intensity detection.

These findings could allow significant improvements in the future to the precision of applications such as LIDAR, a method of optical distance and speed measurement, and GPS. (

Their findings have been published in PRX Quantum.

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