The measurement of a quantum system is often performed by encoding its state in a single observable of a light field. The measurement efficiency of this observable can be reduced by loss or excess noise on the way to the detector. Even a quantum-limited detector that simultaneously measures a second noncommuting observable would double the output noise, therefore limiting the efficiency to 50%. At microwave frequencies, an ideal measurement efficiency can be achieved by noiselessly amplifying the information-carrying quadrature of the light field but this has remained an experimental challenge. Indeed, while state-of-the-art Josephson-junction-based parametric amplifiers can perform an ideal single-quadrature measurement, they require lossy ferrite circulators in the signal path, drastically decreasing the overall efficiency. In this paper, we present a nonreciprocal parametric amplifier that combines single-quadrature measurement and directionality without the use of strong external magnetic fields. We extract a measurement efficiency of 62-9+17% that exceeds the quantum limit and that is not limited by fundamental factors. The amplifier can be readily integrated with superconducting devices, creating a path for ideal measurements of quantum bits and mechanical oscillators.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the NIST Quantum Information Program. Contributions to this paper by workers at NIST, an agency of the U.S. Government, are not subject to U.S. copyright.
© 2020 American Physical Society. © 2020 American Physical Society. US.