Thursday, March 18, 2010

Quantum non-demolition measurements of a qubit coupled to a harmonic oscillator

Luca Chirolli, Guido Burkard

We theoretically describe the weak measurement of a two-level system (qubit) and quantify the degree to which such a qubit measurement has a quantum non-demolition (QND) character. The qubit is coupled to a harmonic oscillator which undergoes a projective measurement. Information on the qubit state is extracted from the oscillator measurement outcomes, and the QND character of the measurement is inferred by the result of subsequent measurements of the oscillator. We use the positive operator valued measure (POVM) formalism to describe the qubit measurement. Two mechanisms lead to deviations from a perfect QND measurement: (i) the quantum fluctuations of the oscillator, and (ii) quantum tunneling between the qubit states $|0>$ and $|1>$ during measurements. Our theory can be applied to QND measurements performed on superconducting qubits coupled to a circuit oscillator.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Quantum Random Walk

M. A. Broome, A. Fedrizzi, B. P. Lanyon, I. Kassal, A. Aspuru-Guzik, A. G. White

Quantum walks have a host of applications, ranging from quantum computing to the simulation of biological systems. We present an intrinsically stable, deterministic implementation of discrete quantum walks with single photons in space. The number of optical elements required scales linearly with the number of steps. We measure walks with up to 6 steps and explore the quantum-to-classical transition by introducing tunable decoherence. Finally, we also investigate the effect of absorbing boundaries and show that decoherence significantly affects the probability of absorption.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

An Invisible Quantum Tripwire

Petr M. Anisimov, Daniel J. Lum, S. Blane McCracken, Jonathan P. Dowling.

We present here a quantum tripwire, which is a quantum optical interrogation technique capable of detecting an intrusion with very low probability of the tripwire being revealed to the intruder. Our scheme combines interaction-free measurement with the quantum Zeno effect in order to interrogate the presence of the intruder without interaction. The tripwire exploits a curious nonlinear behavior of the quantum Zeno effect we discovered, which occurs in a lossy system. We also employ a statistical hypothesis testing protocol, allowing us to calculate a confidence level of interaction-free measurement after a given number of trials. As a result, our quantum intruder alert system is robust against photon loss and dephasing under realistic atmospheric conditions and its design minimizes the probabilities of false positives and false negatives as well as the probability of becoming visible to the intruder.