Experimental proof that a qubit is more than a quantum coin

ARXIV (2016)


The qubit, the simplest quantum system and unit of quantum information, is sometimes compared to a “quantum coin”: a coin with infinitely many sets of two sides which can only be tossed when specifying the desired set. However, this picture fails to capture the richness of the quantum world, where qubit measurements are not necessarily binary. Consequently, when pairs of entangled qubits are measured locally, quantum theory predicts correlations that can neither be explained as produced by locally tossing classical coins nor explained by locally tossing quantum coins. However, this last prediction was unconfirmed until now since it requires the observation of a very small effect on an almost perfectly entangled qubit-qubit state. Here we present an experiment on pairs of entangled photonic qubits violating by more than 8 standard deviations a new Bell-like correlation inequality, which is valid only for binary quantum measurements. By also providing device-independent evidences that our system is best described by two qubits, we prove that quantum measurements on a qubit can be fundamentally non-binary. Since non-binary measurements on a qubit cannot be sharp, this constitutes the first device-independent certification of a genuine generalized quantum measurement.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/

Categories: Publications