Synopsis: The Bound and the Free

Precisely prepared photon states can probe quantum statistical phenomena and generate intriguing forms of quantum entanglement.
Synopsis figure
J. DiGuglielmo et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. (2011)

One of the strangest of the strange manifestations of quantum mechanics is entanglement, a condition in which the states of distant objects can be intimately correlated. In practical terms, entanglement is viewed as a means to rapid solution of some hard computational problems by quantum computing. During the 1990s, theorists proposed that entanglement actually comes in two flavors: “bound” entanglement, such as the entangled singlet state of two spin-1/2 particles that cannot be reduced to any simpler form, and “free” entanglement, in which a complex entangled state can be distilled down into a more basic set of states. In recent years, claims of experimental confirmation of bound entanglement have been made, but these are controversial. Writing in Physical Review Letters, James DiGuglielmo at Leibniz University, Germany, and colleagues report their experiments on unconditional preparation of bound states of light.

Previous experiments have typically examined correlations with “postselection” methods to filter desired events from an initial distribution, however, DiGuglielmo et al. have designed a system to deterministically and precisely prepare their entangled states. The authors create four continuous-variable entangled laser fields with optical parametric amplifiers and verify that they have created bound entangled states by means of high-efficiency detectors to measure the correlations. The system offers not only technological utility in preparing exact states for future experiments, but the research team also provides a tool for studying irreversibility at the quantum level to better characterize the connections between quantum information and thermodynamics. – David Voss


Announcements

More Announcements »

Subject Areas

Quantum Information

Previous Synopsis

Next Synopsis

Particles and Fields

Gamma Rays Carry No Trace of Dark Matter

Read More »

Related Articles

Synopsis: Making Hard Problems for Quantum Computers
Quantum Information

Synopsis: Making Hard Problems for Quantum Computers

Researchers have developed a computer algorithm that doesn’t solve problems but instead creates them for the purpose of evaluating quantum computers. Read More »

Viewpoint: A Bird’s Eye View of Circuit Photons
Quantum Information

Viewpoint: A Bird’s Eye View of Circuit Photons

A scanning probe detects the quantum states of photons in a microwave circuit, providing the information needed for quantum simulations. Read More »

Viewpoint: Hiding a Quantum Cache in Diamonds
Quantum Information

Viewpoint: Hiding a Quantum Cache in Diamonds

Entanglement purification, a vital enabler for practical quantum networks, has been shown to be feasible with secluded nuclear memories in diamond. Read More »

More Articles