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

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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 $\left|...
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Density matrix formalism

The density matrix $\hat{\rho}$ is often introduced in textbooks as a mathematical convenience that allows us to describe quantum systems in which there is some level of missing information. $\hat{\...
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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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What is the entropy of a pure state?

Well, zero of course. Because $S = -\text{tr}(\rho \ln \rho)$ and $\rho$ for a pure state gives zero entropy. But... all quantum states are really pure states right? A mixed state just describes ...
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Are there more entangled states or non-entangled ones?

I'm trying to understand entanglement in terms of scarcity and abundance. Given an arbitrary vector $v$ representing a pure quantum state of, say, dimension 4, i.e. $v \in \mathcal{H}^{\otimes 4}$, ...
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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 the ...
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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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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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What is the actual meaning of the density operator?

I am not able to understand the definition of the density operator. I know that if $V$ is a vector space and if I have $k$ states belonging to this vector space, say $|\psi_{i}\rangle$ for $1\le i\le ...
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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} \hat{\sigma}_{i_1}\otimes\hat{\sigma}_{i_2}\otimes\...
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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 2003)....
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How can I write a Gaussian state as a squeezed, displaced thermal state

I would like to write a Gaussian state with density matrix $\rho$ (single mode) as a squeezed, displaced thermal state: \begin{gather} \rho = \hat{S}(\zeta) \hat{D}(\alpha) \rho_{\bar{n}} \hat{D}^\...
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Precise meaning of composition of ket and bra, e.g. $|\psi\rangle\langle\psi|$

I'm currently studying density matrices, and have been frequently coming across the construction $$|\psi\rangle\langle\psi| \,.$$ What is the formal meaning of this composition? I understand $\...
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Trace of an operator matrix (Quantum computation and quantum information)

I'm reading the book Quantum computation and quantum information by Mike & Ike and I'm stuck at 2.60/2.61. There, the author says that, given the operator $A|ψ⟩⟨ψ|$, its trace is: $${\rm tr}(A|\...
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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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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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Interpretation of a density matrix as an observable

In quantum mechanics, any density matrix (or density operator) is Hermitian. Observables are also represented by Hermitian operators. So it follows that a density matrix can also be interpreted as ...
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If an isolated quantum system consists of only one particle, is it possible for it to be in a mixed state?

Mixed states are defined as the statistical ensemble of pure states. Classically, I understand the word, "statistical" referring to a system with a large number of microscopic particles. So if I go ...
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What is the difference between general measurement and projective measurement?

Nielsen and Chuang mention in Quantum Computation and Information that there are two kinds of measurement : general and projective ( and also POVM but that's not what I'm worried about ). General ...
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Intuition on positive-operator valued measures (POVM)

I'm having a little trouble understanding what positive-operator valued measure (POVM) are- in particular why/how they are non-negative. For instance, if they just represent measurements, what about ...
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Hilbert space for Density Operators (instead of Banach spaces)

Is it possible to construct a well defined inner-product (and therefore orthonormality) within the set of self-adjoint trace-class linear operators? In the affirmative case, dynamics could be analyzed ...
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Schrödinger's cat and the difficulty of macroscopic superposition state

The Schrödinger's cat was regarded as peculiar since we seldom encounter a superposition state in macroscopic scale: $$ \mid \mathrm{dead \,\,cat} \rangle + \mid \mathrm{alive \,\, cat}\rangle $$ We ...
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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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Liouville-von Neumann equation can be directly derived from Heisenberg picture?

The Liouville-von Neumann equation for the density matrix is: $$ i\hbar\frac{\partial\rho}{\partial t}=[H,\rho],$$ while in the Heisenberg picture: $$ \frac{d}{dt}A(t)=\frac{i}{\hbar}[H,A(t)] +\...
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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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Equivalence classes in a Hilbert space

I'm reading something about quantum information/quantum computing theory, and I've run into a wall. I know what is meant by an equivalence class and how something can be partitioned into equivalence ...
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Entanglement of Mixed Quantum State

As per Wikipedia: Quantum entanglement is a physical phenomenon that occurs when pairs or groups of particles are generated or interact in ways such that the quantum state of each particle cannot ...
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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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What is the physical meaning of the Lindblad operator?

I read the wikipedia article on the Lindblad operator, but I still don't understand what this operator is supposed to describe. I therefore considered setting up an example in order to get the idea. ...
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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 ...
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How does one describe a state with a density matrix after measuring position?

My question is about position measurement in non relativistic quantum mechanics. I've been taught that when you measure the value of an observable for some state of a system described by $|\psi\rangle$...
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Matrix elements of linear operators - orthonormal basis required?

In an early linear algebra class of mine, I learnt that a linear map $\mathcal{A}$ acting on a vector space could be represented by a matrix $A_{ij}$ according to the rule: $$\mathcal{A}({e_j}) = A_{...
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A seemingly paradox for Eigenstate Thermalization Hypothesis (ETH)

ETH states that for a system, all of its eigenstates thermalize. To be more specific, consider an energy eigenstate of the full system $H|n\rangle=E_n|n\rangle$. If the full system is in this ...
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Trace as integral

Consider a system of two entangled harmonic oscillators. The normalised ground state is denoted by $\psi_0(x_1,x_2)$. I've been taught that a density matrix is constructed as $\rho = \left|\psi\...
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Density matrix: error with diagonalization claim and fixing it

On page 174 of Townsend's "A Modern Approach to Quantum Mechanics", 2nd edition, it says the following: "For a mixed state, one for which $p_k$ is the probability that a particle is in the state $|\...
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Completely positive maps and symmetric states

Let $\mathcal{N}$ be a completetely positive trace preserving map (aka a quantum channel) acting on a finite dimensional system $\mathrm{A}$, and let $\pi$ denote the maximally mixed state on $\mathrm{...
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Berry phase with density matrix approach

Berry phase, coming from Schrodinger equation, has well known form in terms of closed integral $$\gamma = \int_C A(\xi) d\xi $$ with Berry connection $$A(\xi) = i < \psi(\xi) | \partial_{\xi} | \...
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Using open system dynamics to define a quantum state

Background The density matrix of a closed quantum system with Hilbert space $\mathscr H$ evolves according to the von Neumann equation \begin{align*} i\hbar\dot\rho=[H,\rho]. \end{align*} Given a ...
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Can every density operator be written as an outer product of two vectors?

I have a feeling this is a very basic question. I apologize if it is. Using Dirac's notation, can every (mixed) density operator $\rho_A$ of system $A$ be written as the ket-bra (outer) product $|a_1 ...
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How to connect these two formulations regarding the need for a density matrix in quantum mechanics?

I found these two formulations: The density matrix is: 1) "needed if we consider a system that is part of a larger closed system." 2) "needed for a system to be ...
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Difference between DMRG (density matrix renomalization group) and MPS (matrix product states)?

I am learning DMRG recently. I noticed there are many papers both in the DMRG approach and MPS (such as variational matrix product state (VMPS) by F.Verstraete and J.I.Cirac) approach. In my eyes, ...
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Is it possible to go from the Master Equation formalism to Heisenberg-Langevin equations

If I have derived a master equation (e.g. in the Lindblad form) and solved for the density matrix, $\rho(t)$ I can get the mean value of an operator, A as: $ <A> = \mathrm{Tr}A\rho $. But ...
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How to write a generic density matrix for multi qubit system

I was reading the paper device independent outlook on quantum mechanics. The author defines a generic two qubit density matrix as $$ \rho=\frac{1}{4}\left( I \otimes I + \vec{r_{\rho}} \cdot \vec{\...
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Finding the matrix representation of a superoperator

I am trying to express superoperator (e.g. the Liouvillian) as matrices and am having a hard time finding a way to do this. For instance, given the Pauli matrix $\sigma_y$, how do I find the matrix ...
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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 p_{\...
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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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Probability distribution of a pretty-good measurement

Let $\rho_{XE}$ be a classical-quantum state. That is, $$ \rho_{XE} = \sum_{x}\Pr[X=x] \cdot |x\rangle \langle x | \otimes \rho_{x} $$ where every $\rho_{x}$ is a density matrix with $\mathrm{Tr}(\...
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Seemingly a paradox on the eigenstate thermalization hypothesis (ETH)

In the research field of Many-body Localization (MBL), people are always talking about the eigenstate thermalization hypothesis (ETH). ETH asserts that for a isolated quantum system, all many-body ...
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Can reduced density matrices of sub systems of an entangled composite system be different?

In a 4-dimensional hilbert space, only 4 entangled states( normalized ) are possible ( if I am not wrong ), the bell basis. In each of the state in bell basis the reduced density matrix is $\frac{I}{2}...