Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Doing More with Less: New Technique Uses Fraction of Measurements to Efficiently Find Quantum Wave Functions


The result of every possible measurement on a quantum system is coded in its wave function, which until recently could be found only by taking many different measurements of a system and estimating a wave function that best fit all those measurements.

Just two years ago, with the advent of a technique called direct measurement, scientists discovered they could reliably determine a system’s wave function by “weakly” measuring one of its variables (e.g. position) and “strongly” measuring a complementary variable (momentum). Researchers at the University of Rochester have now taken this method one step forward by combining direct measurement with an efficient computational technique.

The new method, called compressive direct measurement, allowed the team to reconstruct a quantum state at 90 percent fidelity (a measure of accuracy) using only a quarter of the measurements required by previous methods.

“We have, for the first time, combined weak measurement and compressive sensing to demonstrate a revolutionary, fast method for measuring a high-dimensional quantum state,” said Mohammad Mirhosseini, a graduate student in the Quantum Photonics research group at the University of Rochester and lead author of a paper appearing today in Physical Review Letters.

The research team, which also included graduate students Omar Magaña-Loaiza and Seyed Mohammad Hashemi Rafsanjani, and Professor Robert Boyd, initially tested their method on a 192-dimensional state. Finding success with that large state, they then took on a massive, 19,200-dimensional state. Their efficient technique sped up the process 350-fold and took just 20 percent of the total measurements required by traditional direct measurement to reconstruct the state.

“To reproduce our result using a direct measurement alone would require more than one year of exposure time,” said Rafsanjani. “We did the experiment in less than 48 hours.”

While recent compressive sensing techniques have been used to measure sets of complementary variables like position and momentum, Mirhosseini explains that their method allows them to measure the full wave function.

Compression is widely used in the classical world of digital media, including recorded music, video, and pictures. The MP3s on your phone, for example, are audio files that have had bits of information squeezed out to make the file smaller at the cost of losing a small amount of audio quality along the way.

In digital cameras, the more pixels you can gather from a scene, the higher the image quality and the larger the file will be. But it turns out that most of those pixels don’t convey essential information that needs to be captured from the scene. Most of them can be reconstructed later. Compressive sensing works by randomly sampling portions from all over the scene, and using those patterns to fill in the missing information.

Similarly for quantum states, it is not necessary to measure every single dimension of a multidimensional state. It takes only a handful of measurements to get a high-quality image of a quantum system.

The method introduced by Mirhosseini et al. has important potential applications in the field of quantum information science. This research field strives to make use of fundamental quantum effects for diverse applications, including secure communication, teleportation of quantum states, and ideally to perform quantum computation. This latter process holds great promise as a method that can, in principle, lead to a drastic speed-up of certain types of computation. All of these applications require the use of complicated quantum states, and the new method described here offers an efficient means to characterize these states.

Research funding was provided by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Information in a Photon (InPho) program, U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), National Science Foundation (NSF), El Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT) and Canadian Excellence Research Chair (CERC).

Contact Information

Peter Iglinski
Senior Press Officer, Science & Public Media
Phone: 585-273-4726
Mobile: 585-764-7002

Peter Iglinski | newswise
Further information:

Further reports about: DTRA Defense Functions Quantum Wave high-dimensional quantum state measurement measurements

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Graphene microphone outperforms traditional nickel and offers ultrasonic reach
27.11.2015 | Institute of Physics

nachricht Tracking down the 'missing' carbon from the Martian atmosphere
25.11.2015 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Climate study finds evidence of global shift in the 1980s

Planet Earth experienced a global climate shift in the late 1980s on an unprecedented scale, fuelled by anthropogenic warming and a volcanic eruption, according to new research published this week.

Scientists say that a major step change, or ‘regime shift’, in the Earth’s biophysical systems, from the upper atmosphere to the depths of the ocean and from...

Im Focus: Innovative Photovoltaics – from the Lab to the Façade

Fraunhofer ISE Demonstrates New Cell and Module Technologies on its Outer Building Façade

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has installed 70 photovoltaic modules on the outer façade of one of its lab buildings. The modules were...

Im Focus: Lactate for Brain Energy

Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.

In comparison to other organs, the human brain has the highest energy requirements. The supply of energy for nerve cells and the particular role of lactic acid...

Im Focus: Laser process simulation available as app for first time

In laser material processing, the simulation of processes has made great strides over the past few years. Today, the software can predict relatively well what will happen on the workpiece. Unfortunately, it is also highly complex and requires a lot of computing time. Thanks to clever simplification, experts from Fraunhofer ILT are now able to offer the first-ever simulation software that calculates processes in real time and also runs on tablet computers and smartphones. The fast software enables users to do without expensive experiments and to find optimum process parameters even more effectively.

Before now, the reliable simulation of laser processes was a job for experts. Armed with sophisticated software packages and after many hours on computer...

Im Focus: Quantum Simulation: A Better Understanding of Magnetism

Heidelberg physicists use ultracold atoms to imitate the behaviour of electrons in a solid

Researchers at Heidelberg University have devised a new way to study the phenomenon of magnetism. Using ultracold atoms at near absolute zero, they prepared a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

Fraunhofer’s Urban Futures Conference: 2 days in the city of the future

25.11.2015 | Event News

Gluten oder nicht Gluten? Überempfindlichkeit auf Weizen kann unterschiedliche Ursachen haben

17.11.2015 | Event News

Art Collection Deutsche Börse zeigt Ausstellung „Traces of Disorder“

21.10.2015 | Event News

Latest News

Siemens to supply 126 megawatts to onshore wind power plants in Scotland

27.11.2015 | Press release

Two decades of training students and experts in tracking infectious disease

27.11.2015 | Life Sciences

Coming to a monitor near you: A defect-free, molecule-thick film

27.11.2015 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>