Weak value amplification is suboptimal for estimation and detection

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Physical Review Letters, 2014, 112 (4)
Issue Date:
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We show by using statistically rigorous arguments that the technique of weak value amplification does not perform better than standard statistical techniques for the tasks of single parameter estimation and signal detection. Specifically, we prove that postselection, a necessary ingredient for weak value amplification, decreases estimation accuracy and, moreover, arranging for anomalously large weak values is a suboptimal strategy. In doing so, we explicitly provide the optimal estimator, which in turn allows us to identify the optimal experimental arrangement to be the one in which all outcomes have equal weak values (all as small as possible) and the initial state of the meter is the maximal eigenvalue of the square of the system observable. Finally, we give precise quantitative conditions for when weak measurement (measurements without postselection or anomalously large weak values) can mitigate the effect of uncharacterized technical noise in estimation. © 2014 American Physical Society.
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