Exact and asymptotic measures of multipartite pure-state entanglement

Charles H. Bennett, Sandu Popescu, Daniel Rohrlich, John A. Smolin, Ashish V. Thapliyal

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313 Scopus citations


Hoping to simplify the classification of pure entangled states of multi (m)-partite quantum systems, we study exactly and asymptotically (in n) reversible transformations among nth tensor powers of such states (i.e., n copies of the state shared among the same m parties) under local quantum operations and classical communication (LOCC). For exact transformations, we show that two states whose marginal one-party entropies agree are either locally unitarily equivalent or else LOCC incomparable. In particular we show that two tripartite Greenberger-Horne-Zeilinger states are LOCC incomparable to three bipartite Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (EPR) states symmetrically shared among the three parties. Asymptotic transformations yield a simpler classification than exact transformations; for example, they allow all pure bipartite states to be characterized by a single parameter - their partial entropy - which may be interpreted as the number of EPR pairs asymptotically interconvertible to the state in question by LOCC transformations. We show that m-partite pure states having an m-way Schmidt decomposition are similarly parametrizable, with the partial entropy across any nontrivial partition representing the number of standard quantum superposition or "cat" states |0⊗m〉 + |1⊗m〉 asymptotically interconvertible to the state in question. For general m-partite states, partial entropies across different partitions need not be equal, and since partial entropies are conserved by asymptotically reversible LOCC operations, a multicomponent entanglement measure is needed, with each scalar component representing a different kind of entanglement, not asymptotically interconvertible to the other kinds. In particular we show that the m=4 cat state is not isentropic to, and therefore not asymptotically interconvertible to, any combination of bipartite and tripartite states shared among the four parties. Thus, although the m=4 cat state can be prepared from bipartite EPR states, the preparation process is necessarily irreversible, and remains so even asymptotically. For each number of parties m we define a minimal reversible entanglement generating set (MREGS) as a set of states of minimal cardinality sufficient to generate all m-partite pure states by asymptotically reversible LOCC transformations. Partial entropy arguments provide lower bounds on the size of the MREGS, but for m>2 we know no upper bounds. We briefly consider several generalizations of LOCC transformations, including transformations with some probability of failure, transformations with the catalytic assistance of states other than the states we are trying to transform, and asymptotic LOCC transformations supplemented by a negligible [o(n)] amount of quantum communication.

Original languageEnglish GB
Article number012307
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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