Optical Faraday rotation of a detuned probe laser can be used to monitor the dynamic response of atomic hyperfine spins to time-varying magnetic fields, with minimal backaction. We present a modern formulation of broadband atomic magnetometry as an example of quantum parameter estimation, establishing important connections between abstract quantum measurement theory and concrete physical models. We discuss experimental challenges and progress in this area that sits at the interface of quantum information science and precision measurement.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

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