Optimization of direct-detection quantum illumination

Brougham, Thomas and Jeffers, John (2024) Optimization of direct-detection quantum illumination. Physical Review A, 109 (5). 052612. ISSN 2469-9926 (https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevA.109.052612)

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Quantum illumination uses quantum correlations to improve the detection of objects in the presence of background noise. A simple and common practical approach to quantum illumination is to use threshold detectors to measure the idler mode. We investigate the optimization of these direct measurement protocols. Surprisingly, we find that there can be an advantage to having a signal detector whose quantum efficiency is significantly less than perfect, one that does not vanish for low object reflectivities or signal strengths. We also show that decreasing the separation between pulses, while keeping the rate of photons transmitted per second fixed, can improve the performance, under appropriate conditions. We further show that post-selecting on the idler detector firing is less efficient at object detection than not post-selecting.