PRX Quantum

"Optimal Quantum Thermometry with Coarse-Grained Measurements"

19. Mai 2021

Precise thermometry for quantum systems is important to the development of new technology, and understanding the ultimate limits to precision presents a fundamental challenge. It is well known that optimal thermometry requires projective measurements of the total energy of the sample. However, this is infeasible in even moderately sized systems, where realistic energy measurements will necessarily involve some coarse-graining. Here we explore the precision limits for temperature estimation when only coarse-grained measurements are available. Using tools from signal processing, we derive the structure of optimal coarse-grained measurements and find that good temperature estimates can generally be attained even with a small number of outcomes. We apply our results to many-body systems and nonequilibrium thermometry. For the former, we focus on interacting spin lattices, both at and away from criticality, and find that the Fisher-information scaling with system size is unchanged after coarse-graining. For the latter, we consider a probe of given dimension interacting with the sample, followed by a measurement of the probe. We derive an upper bound on arbitrary, nonequilibrium strategies for such probe-based thermometry and illustrate it for thermometry on a Bose-Einstein condensate using an atomic quantum-dot probe.

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