The density operator describes a quantum system in an (in general mixed) state.

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Mixed quantum states and “complete knowledge of the system”

I ran across this statement in a professor's notes and I think it's just a typo, but I wanted to take the opportunity to check my understanding. So in his notes it says: even if we have complete ...
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Continous and Discrete basis, Multiplication of Density Matrix and Hamiltonian

Suppose I have a wave function $\psi(x)$ in position basis. I can make a density function by simply multiplying $\psi(x)$ and its conjugate $\psi^*(x)$. If I operate the density matrix ...
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Can I usefully interpret a non-unital completely positive (CP) map as a cooling process?

Non-unital completely positive (CP) maps take a maximally mixed quantum state (aka a normalized identity matrix aka an infinite temperature state) and map it to something else. This necessarily ...
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How is quantum superposition different from mixed state?

According to Wikipedia, if a system has $50\%$ chance to be in state $\left|\psi_1\right>$ and $50\%$ to be in state $\left|\psi_2\right>$, then this is a mixed state. Now consider state ...
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Density matrix and irreducible tensor operators

I'm reading those lecture notes on atomic physics. Yesterday I posed a question on reducible tensors, and today I have a question on their relation to the density matrix. If there's any information ...
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Operator that takes us from one density matrix to another?

Let's say we have two systems A and B. Each system is described by a density matrix $\rho_A$ and $\rho_B$. I'm wondering about the formal notation to write down the expectation value of an operator ...
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Density operator time evolution in the path integral approach

I want to know how the density operator of a system evovles when we use path integral approach.
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States versus ensembles in quantum mechanics

In quantum mechanics, we talk about (1) vectors, (2) states, and (3) ensembles (e.g., a beam in a particle accelerator). Suppose we want to translate this into mathematical definitions. If I'd never ...
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How to measure the arbitrariness of a quantum state?

An arbitrary qubit is represented as $\alpha|0\rangle+\beta|1\rangle$ with $|\alpha|^2+|\beta|^2=1$. If we know either $\alpha$ or $\beta$, the state can be completely identified. The 'arbitrariness' ...
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Differences between pure/mixed/entangled/separable/superposed states

I am currently trying to establish a clear picture of pure/mixed/entangled/separable/superposed states. In the following I will always assume a basis of $|1\rangle$ and $|0\rangle$ for my quantum ...
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Thermal radiation in the Unruh Effect

The following formula has been given in 't Hooft's black holes notes ($|\Omega \rangle$ is the vacuum state of Minkowski space, O is a operator): $$\langle \Omega| O|\Omega \rangle = \sum_{n \ge 0} ...
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Why is this not a realisable operation on a quantum system?

Let $\rho = \begin{bmatrix}\ 1&0 \\ 0&0 \end{bmatrix}$, $\rho' = \begin{bmatrix}\ 0&0 \\ 0&1 \end{bmatrix}$, $\rho'' = \dfrac{1}{2}\begin{bmatrix}\ 1&1 \\ 1&1 \end{bmatrix}$ ...
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Density Operator, Expectation Value, Coherent States

How would I go about evaluating expectation values like $\langle X \rangle$ and $\langle P \rangle$? Work I've done: I've done the integration over $\phi$ and rewrote $\rho$ as: $\rho = ...
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What does the sum of two qubits tell about their correlations?

How much can I learn about correlations between two quits by measuring the sum of their values? What is the best way to formalize such a question? Below is my original, longer formulation of ...
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Energy density of a quantum mechanical ensemble

How do we determine the energy density of a given system? I have seen that the density operator $$\rho~=~\frac{\exp(-\beta \hat{H})}{\text{tr}(\exp(-\beta \hat{H}))}.$$ What does this mean exactly ...
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Does the reduced density matrix describes a real mixed state?

Suppose that we have two entangled particles A and B with pure state vector $|\psi\rangle=a|0\rangle_A |1\rangle_B + b|1\rangle_A |0\rangle_B \hspace{1cm}(1)$ When we take the partial trace over the ...
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The effect of Quantum Decoherence on density operators

Suppose we have a qubit in state $| \Psi \rangle = \alpha | 0 \rangle + \beta | 1 \rangle$ Suppose we expose this to decoherence, which we will express as the state $| R \rangle$ such that $$| 0 ...
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Sum of two density matrices: $\rho=p_1\rho_1+p_2\rho_2$

Suppose we have $$\rho=p_1\rho_1+p_2\rho_2$$ Where $\rho_1$ and $\rho_2$ are density matrices with $p_1+p_2=1$ I'm trying to show this is also a density matrix If we let $$\rho_1=\sum_i^n ...
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Is it possible to write a Density Matrix in the following form?

Is it possible to write an arbitrary density matrix $\hat{\rho}$ in the following form ? $$\hat{\rho} ~=~ \frac{1}{N} \sum_{\ell=1}^N \left|x_{\ell}\right\rangle \left\langle x_{\ell}\right|,$$ ...
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What is the link between the density matrix and Hestenes' spinors in geometric algebra?

The density matrix (or state matrix) is a generalization of a wave function that is able to describe incoherent superpositions of an N-state system. It is often written as a matrix and observables are ...
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What is the physical interpretation of the density matrix in a double continuous basis $|\alpha\rangle$, $|\beta\rangle$?

(a) Any textbook gives the interpretation of the density matrix in a single continuous basis $|\alpha\rangle$: The diagonal elements $\rho(\alpha, \alpha) = \langle \alpha |\hat{\rho}| \alpha ...
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Takhatajan's mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics

So I began skimming L. Takhatajan's Quantum Mechanics For Mathematicians, and saw the mathematical formulation of QM that he uses (page 51). (The PDF file is available here.) I've only taken a basic ...
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Show that purity = 1 in a pure state

How can you show that for any pure state, the purity = 1? Pure state: $\rho^2 = \rho$ and $Tr(\rho^2)=1$ Mixed state: $\rho^2 = \rho$ and $Tr(\rho^2)<1$
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Is the density operator a mathematical convenience or a 'fundamental' aspect of quantum mechanics?

In quantum mechanics, one makes the distinction between mixed states and pure states. A classic example of a mixed state is a beam of photons in which 50% have spin in the positive $z$-direction and ...
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Shape of the state space under different tensor products

I am currently studying generalized probabilistic theories. Let me roughly recall how such a theory looks like (you can skip this and go to "My question" if you are familiar with this). Recall: In a ...
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Krauss operators for random unitary

Suppose I have a density matrix $\rho$ and I act on it with a unitary matrix that is chosen randomly, and with even probability, from $S = \{ H_1, H_2 \ldots H_N \}$. I want to write the operation on ...
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Reduced density matrices for free fermions are thermal

Many recent papers study entanglement in eigenstates of fermionic free hamiltonians (normally on a lattice) using the basic assumption that the reduced density matrices are thermal (e.g. Peschel ...
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Hilbert-Schmidt basis for many qubits - reference

Every density matrix of $n$ qubits can be written in the following way $$\hat{\rho}=\frac{1}{2^n}\sum_{i_1,i_2,\ldots,i_n=0}^3 t_{i_1i_2\ldots i_n} ...
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Majorana-like representation for mixed symmetric states?

Is there a generalization of the Majorana representation of pure symmetric $n$-qubit states to mixed states (made of pure symmetric $n$-qubit)? By Majorana representation I mean the decomposition of ...
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How does a state vector be projected onto an eigenspace after measurement

In http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Measurement_in_quantum_mechanics#Degenerate_spectra, it is said that If there are multiple eigenstates with the same eigenvalue (called degeneracies),..., The ...
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Eigenvalue Postulate and Experiment Outcomes in QM

In Nielsen and Chuang's text on Quantum Information and Computation, the measurement postulate is stated by using a collection of measurement operators and the outcomes are the indices of the ...