Fundamental limits of quantum-secure covert optical sensing

Boulat A. Bash, Christos N. Gagatsos, Animesh Datta, Saikat Guha

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

18 Scopus citations


We present a square root law for active sensing of phase θ of a single pixel using optical probes that pass through a single-mode lossy thermal-noise bosonic channel. Specifically, we show that, when the sensor uses an n-mode covert optical probe, the mean squared error (MSE) of the resulting estimator θn scales as 〈(θ-θn)2〉 = O(1/√n) improving the scaling necessarily leads to detection by the adversary with high probability. We fully characterize this limit and show that it is achievable using laser light illumination and a heterodyne receiver, even when the adversary captures every photon that does not return to the sensor and performs arbitrarily complex measurement as permitted by the laws of quantum mechanics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2017 IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory, ISIT 2017
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9781509040964
StatePublished - Aug 9 2017
Event2017 IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory, ISIT 2017 - Aachen, Germany
Duration: Jun 25 2017Jun 30 2017

Publication series

NameIEEE International Symposium on Information Theory - Proceedings
ISSN (Print)2157-8095


Other2017 IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory, ISIT 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Information Systems
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Applied Mathematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Fundamental limits of quantum-secure covert optical sensing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this