Two researchers at UCL Computer Science and the University of Gdansk present a new method for determining the amount of entanglement a quantum phenomenon connecting two remote partners, and crucial for quantum technology - within part of a one-dimensional quantum system.
In their paper, published this week in Nature Physics, Dr Fernando Brando (UCL Computer Science) and Dr Michał Horodecki (Institute for Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics, University of Gdansk) demonstrate when the correlation between particles in a sample reduces exponentially with distance, the entanglement between one region and the rest of the sample only depends on the area of the boundary between them.
Characterising entangled states is essential for technologies such as quantum computation, quantum communication and quantum cryptography. Entanglement is also the difficulty behind making computer simulations of quantum systems. This finding shows that a large class of quantum systems (those with exponential decay of correlations) has only limited entanglement and so can be simulated easily.
The relationship between area and entanglement was suspected by researchers in this field based on the intuitive argument that if the correlation between particles in a system dropped off rapidly with distance, only nearby particles would be entangled with each other. Therefore, particles far away from a boundary would not participate in entanglement and only the boundary area would be relevant.
However, this tempting idea was undermined by the existence of a counterexample. This seemed to show that even when two regions could be separated by a layer wide enough to cut off nearly all correlation between them, observers would not be able to know as much about each region as they would if they were genuinely isolated. This 'data hiding' phenomenon is a key characteristic of entangled states, where a lack of knowledge of one partner affects what can
|Contact: David Weston|
University College London