Uniqueness of quantum states compatible with given measurement results

Jianxin Chen
Hillary Dawkins
Zhengfeng Ji
Nathaniel Johnston
David Kribs
Fred Shultz
Bei Zeng

Copyright (2013) American Physical Society. Published article may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevA.88.012109

Abstract

We discuss the uniqueness of quantum states compatible with given measurement results for a set of observables. For a given pure state, we consider two different types of uniqueness: (1) no other pure state is compatible with the same measurement results and (2) no other state, pure or mixed, is compatible with the same measurement results. For case (1), it was known that for a d-dimensional Hilbert space, there exists a set of 4d - 5 observables that uniquely determines any pure state. We show that for case (2), 5d - 7 observables suffice to uniquely determine any pure state. Thus there is a gap between the results for (1) and (2), and we give some examples to illustrate this. Unique determination of a pure state by its reduced density matrices (RDMs), a special case of determination by observables, is also discussed. We improve the best known bound on local dimensions in which almost all pure states are uniquely determined by their RDMs for case (2). We further discuss circumstances where (1) can imply (2). We use convexity of the numerical range of operators to show that when only two observables are measured, (1) always implies (2). More generally, if there is a compact group of symmetries of the state space which has the span of the observables measured as the set of fixed points, then (1) implies (2). We analyze the possible dimensions for the span of such observables. Our results extend naturally to the case of low rank quantum states.