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

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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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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. ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 ...
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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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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}) = ...
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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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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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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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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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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 = ...
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Mutually unbiased bases

This question can be formulated in two ways. Let there be two $d$-dimensional orthonormal bases $B_{1}$ and $B_{2}$. I refer to the elements of $B_{1}$ by $\lvert\nu_{i}\rangle$ and to the elements of ...
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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: $$ | \mathrm{dead \,\,cat} \rangle + | \mathrm{alive \,\, cat}\rangle $$ We more ...
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Fermi-Dirac distribution derivation?

I am trying to derive the Fermi-Dirac statistics using density matrix formalism. I know that $$<A>= Tr \rho A.$$ So I started from $$<n(\epsilon_i)>= Tr \rho n(\epsilon_i)=\frac {1}{Z} ...
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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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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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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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Derivation of a quantum dynamical map on open quantum system

Let us consider a initial total quantum system as $\rho(0) = \rho_S(0)\otimes\rho_B$ where $\rho_S(0)$ is initial open system and $\rho_B$ is density matrix for environment. We can use partial trace ...
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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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Eigenstates of a density matrix of continuous variables

Consider a system of two entangled harmonic oscillators. The normalised ground state is denoted by $\psi_0(x_1,x_2)$. The reduced density matrix of the second oscillator is given by: $$\rho_2 = ...
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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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What is the Reduced Density Matrix?

The difference between pure and mixed states is the difference in their density matrix structure. For density matrix $\rho$ of mixed state the trace of $\rho^{2}$ should be less than 1. For pure ...
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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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Mapping a given density matrix to the generalized 2-qubit state

The generalized 2-qubit state is given as: $$ \rho = \frac{1}{4}[ I\otimes I + (m_x\sigma_x + m_y\sigma_y + m_z\sigma_z)\otimes I + I \otimes (n_x\sigma_x + n_y\sigma_y + n_z\sigma_z) + ...
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Can the wavefunction of a system be reconstructed from density matrices of subsystems?

Suppose we have several interacting particles in pure state $\left|\psi\right>$. For each of particles we can extract density matrices via $$\rho_i(x_i,x_i^\prime)=\int ...
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Writing down an entanglement in bra-ket notation

I have a relatively complex (for me anyhow) situation which I would like to capture in bra-ket notation, rather than in words. However, I've not been able to find a source which will help me ...
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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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Linearity of the time evolution operator for the reduced density matrix of an entangled state

Suppose to have a system $S$ immersed in an enviroment; the pure states are elements of $H_S \otimes H_E$, where $H_S$ is the hilbert space of the system and $H_E$ is the hilbert space of the ...
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Solution of dynamics of density matrix

Given the dynamics of the density matrix: $ \frac{d}{d t}\begin{pmatrix} \rho_{00} & \rho_{01} \\ \rho_{10} & \rho_{11} \end{pmatrix} = \begin{pmatrix} \lambda ...
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Heisenberg XXX time evolution operator for three qubits

I've a problem to reproduce the result in equation (4) on page three of this paper: http://arxiv.org/abs/0802.2588. So far I've understood that they apply a Heisenberg XXX interaction between ...
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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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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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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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Meaning of the Reduced Density Operator

I am confused about what it is exactly that a reduced density operator describes. To illustrate, I came across the following seemingly paradoxical argument. Consider a biparte system $AB$, described ...
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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 Matrix Characterization

I am working a two dimensional Hilbert space with basis {$|0\rangle, |1\rangle$} and I am trying to show that the density matrix is characterized by 3 real numbers and show that these three numbers ...
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1answer
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Quantum Mechanics mistake in partial trace

I have a given a density matrix by $\rho:=\frac{1}{2} |\psi_1 \rangle \langle \psi_1|+\frac{1}{8} |\psi_2 \rangle \langle \psi_2|+\frac{3}{8} |\psi_3 \rangle \langle \psi_3|.$ Where $|\psi_1\rangle ...
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280 views

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 $Tr(\rho^2)<1$