By Jasminder S. Sidhu, Michael S. Bullock, Saikat Guha, and Cosmo Lupo.
Submitted to arXiv on 31 August 2021.
Coherent states of the quantum electromagnetic field, the quantum description of ideal laser light, are a prime candidate as information carriers for optical communications. A large body of literature exists on quantum-limited parameter estimation and discrimination for coherent states. However, very little is known about practical realizations of receivers for unambiguous state discrimination (USD) of coherent states. Here we fill this gap and establish a theory of unambiguous discrimination of coherent states, with receivers that are allowed to employ: passive multimode linear optics, phase-space displacements, un-excited auxiliary input modes, and on-off photon detection. Our results indicate that these currently-available optical components are near optimal for unambiguous discrimination of multiple coherent states in a constellation.