Optical and Quantum Metrology

Wintersemester 2020/2021

Lecturer: E.Giese

Teaching assistant: S.Wölk

Course description

Optical devices have long been proven to be a powerful tool for metrology; and interferometers are amongst the oldest high-precision instruments in physics. Their supreme sensitivity is for example underlined by the direct observation of gravitational waves. To enhance their sensitivity even further, a novel generation of gravitational wave detectors will rely on quantum features of light that will allow for an operation beyond the shot-noise limit. The lecture “optical and quantum metrology” aims to teach the fundamental working principles and concepts of such devices.

As such, this theoretical lecture gives a basic understanding of optical and quantum metrology. We discuss the estimation of parameters in general terms and through specific measurement schemes, not solely focusing on optical approaches. The lecture covers linear and nonlinear optical devices seen from a quantum perspective and links entanglement or correlations to quantum imaging. Different features of quantum mechanical states of light and their effect on interferometry play a central role for the syllabus. Including nonlinear elements into interferometers allows for a combination of the generation of quantum states with the scheme itself. The methods and concepts taught in the course can be also transferred to other fields of quantum sensing so that the scope of the lecture is beyond optical quantum metrology.

Information about the course

Lectures and exercises are held online through BigBlueButton. The tool is only accessible via the Moodle page, so registration for the lecture on Moodle is mandatory.

On the Moodle page you find the virtual meeting room, our Online Lecture Hall. Please test the functionality in the week before the lectures start. A good internet connection is required to participate. You can communicate with the lecturer via a chat function. Other possibilities are microphone and camera, if available. We ask all participants to always participate as listeners at the beginning of a session and to deactivate the camera and microphone following the webinar etiquette. They can later be activated if necessary.
In order to maintain a rhythm of teaching, both lectures and seminars will take place at the originally planned times. So please log in on Fridays from 10.00-13.00 hours for the lecture and on Wednesdays from 8.00-10.00 hours for the seminar.

If you have any questions or problems, the lecturer and teaching assistant are available by e-mail. If problems arise, or someone has technical issues, please contact us immediately.


Friday, 10:00- 13:00 hours   Online Lecture Hall

Online Lecture: Moodle


Wednesday, 8:00 - 10:00 hours   Online Lecture Hall

Exercise Sheets: Moodle

Important dates

First lecture: 6. November 2020    
First seminar: 11. November 2020    
Final exam: TBA    
Seconad exam: TBA    


  • G. Grynberg, A. Aspect and C. Fabre, "Introduction to Quantum Optics: From the Semi-classical Approach to Quantized Light" (Cambridge University Press, 2010)
  • M. Suda, "Quantum Interferometry in Phase Space: Theory and Applications" (Springer, 2006)
  • W. P. Schleich, "Quantum Optics in Phase Space" (VCH-Wiley, 2001)
  • C. C. Gerry and P. L. Knight, "Introductory Quantum Optics" (Cambridge UniversityPress, 2005)
  • D. S. Simon, G. Jaeger and A. V. Sergienko, "Quantum Metrology, Imaging, and Communication" (Springer, 2017)