# States¶

Note

In Strawberry Fields we use the convention \(\hbar=2\) by default, but other
conventions can also be chosen by setting the global variable `sf.hbar`

at the beginning of a session.
In this document we keep \(\hbar\) explicit.

Contents

## Gaussian States¶

As mentioned in the introduction, a pure Gaussian state is one that can be obtained by applying
gates whose generators are at most **quadratic** in the quadrature (or creation and destruction)
operators. For this class of states, one can obtain a very concise description in terms of
covariance matrices. Let us consider a system of \(N\) qumodes. We can now define the following
vector of quadrature operators

The commutation relations of the \(2N\) position and momentum operators in the last equation can be easily summarized as \([\hat r_i, \hat r_j] = \hbar i\Omega_{ij}\), where

is the **symplectic matrix**. Using the symplectic matrix, we can define the **Weyl operator**
\(D(\xi)\) (a multimode displacement operator) and the **characteristic function**
\(\chi(\xi)\) of a quantum \(N\) mode state \(\rho\):

where \(\xi \in \mathbb{R}^{2N}\).

We can now consider the Fourier transform of the characteristic function to obtain the Wigner function of the state \(\hat \rho\):

The \(2N\) real arguments \(\mathbf{r}\) of the Wigner function are the eigenvalues of the quadrature operators from \(\mathbf{\hat{r}}\).

The above recipe maps an \(N\)-mode quantum state living in a Hilbert space to the real
symplectic space \(\mathcal{K}:=(\mathbb{R}^{2N},\Omega)\), which is called **phase space**.
Like a probability distribution over this phase space, the Wigner function is normalized to one;
unlike a probability distribution, it may take negative values. Gaussian states have the special
property that their characteristic function (and hence their Wigner function) is a Gaussian function
of the variables \(\mathbf{r}\). In this case, the Wigner function takes the form

where \(\bar{ \mathbf{r}} = \langle \hat{\mathbf{r}} \rangle_\rho = \text{Tr}\left(\hat{ \mathbf{r}} \hat \rho \right)\) is the displacement or mean vector and \(\mathbf{V}_{ij} = \frac{1}{2} \langle \Delta r_i \Delta r_j+ \Delta r_j \Delta r_i \rangle\) with \(\Delta \hat{\mathbf{ r}}=\hat{ \mathbf{r}}-\bar{ \mathbf{r}}\) is the covariance matrix. Gaussian states are completely charaterized by the mean vector and covariance matrix (their first and second moments respectively).

Note

The diagonal elements of the covariance matrix are simply the *variances* of each quadrature
\(V_{i,i} = (\Delta x_i)^2\) and \(V_{i+N,i+N}=(\Delta p_i)^2\) for \(i \leq N\),
where \(\Delta x_i\Delta p_i\geq\frac{\hbar}{2}\).

Note

The only pure states that have non-negative Wigner functions are the pure Gaussian states. A Gaussian state is pure if and only if its covariance matrix satisfies \(\text{det}\mathbf{V}=\left(\frac{\hbar}{2}\right)^{2N}\).

### Mean vector and covariance¶

Each type of Gaussian state has a specific form of covariance matrix \(\mathbf{V}\) and mean vector \(\bar{\mathbf{r}}\):

For the

**single-mode vacuum state**, we have \(\mathbf{V}=\frac{\hbar}{2}\I_2\) and \(\bar{\mathbf{r}}=(0,0)^T\),

A

**thermal state**has the same (zero) displacement but a covariance matrix \(\mathbf{V}=(2 \bar n+1)\frac{\hbar}{2}\I_2\);

A

**coherent state**, obtained by displacing vacuum, has the same \(\mathbf{V}\) as vacuum but a nonzero displacement vector \(\bar{ \mathbf{r}}=\sqrt{2\hbar}(\text{Re}(\alpha),\text{Im}(\alpha))\);

and lastly, a

**squeezed state**has zero displacement and covariance matrix \(\mathbf{V} = \frac{\hbar}{2} \text{diag}(e^{-2r},e^{2r})\).

In the limit \(r \to \infty\), the squeezed state’s variance in the \(\x\) quadrature becomes zero and the state becomes proportional to the \(\x\)-eigenstate \(\ket{x}\) with eigenvalue 0. Consistent with the uncertainty principle, the squeezed state’s variance in \(\p\) blows up.

We can also consider the case \(r \to -\infty\), where we find a state proportional to the eigenstate \(\ket{p}\) of the \(\p\) quadrature with eigenvalue 0. In the laboratory and in numerical simulation we must approximate every quadrature eigenstate using a finitely squeezed state (being careful that the variance of the relevant quadrature is much smaller than any other uncertainty relevant to the system). Any other quadrature eigenstate can be obtained from the \(x=0\) eigenstate by applying suitable displacement and rotation operators.

Finally, note that Gaussian operations will transform the vector of means via an affine
transformation and the covariance matrix via similarity transformation; for a detailed discussion of
these transformation, see Sec. 2 of *Gaussian quantum information* by Weedbrook et al.
[1].

Given a \(2N \times 2N\) real symmetric matrix, how can we check that it is a valid covariance matrix? And if it is valid, which operations (displacement, squeezing, multiport interferometers) should be performed to prepare the corresponding Gaussian state?

To answer the first question: a \(2N \times 2N\) real symmetric matrix \(\tilde{ \mathbf{V}}\) corresponds to a Gaussian quantum state if and only if \(\tilde{ \mathbf{V}}+i \frac{\hbar}{2}\Omega \geq 0\) (the matrix inequality is understood in the sense that the eigenvalues of the quantity \(\tilde{\mathbf{V}}+i \frac{\hbar}{2} \Omega\) are nonnegative).

The answer to the second question is provided by the *Bloch-Messiah reduction*
[2][3][4]. This reduction
shows that any \(N\)-mode Gaussian state (equivalently any covariance matrix and vector of
means) can be constructed by starting with a product of \(N\) thermal states \(\bigotimes_i
\rho_i(\bar n_i)\) (with potentially different mean photon numbers), then applying a multiport
interferometer \(\mathcal{V}\), followed by single-mode squeezing operations \(\bigotimes_i
S_i(z_i)\) followed by another multiport \(\mathcal{U}\) followed by single-mode displacement
operations \(\bigotimes_i D_i(\alpha_i)\). Explicitly,

If the state is pure then \(\bigotimes_i \rho_i(\bar n_i) = \ket{0} \bra{0}\) where \(\ket{0}\) is the multimode vacuum state. Note that in this case one \(\mathcal{V} \ket{0}=\ket{0}\) and thus one can write

Finally, just one minor note about conventions; the multiport interferometer is typically specified by providing its action on the destruction operators of the incoming modes

where the matrix \(U\) is unitary \(U U^\dagger = U^\dagger U = \I_N\).

## Fock basis¶

Warning

The Fock basis is **non-Gaussian**, and thus states listed here can only be used in the Fock
backends, *not* the Gaussian backend.

Definition

A single mode state can be decomposed into the Fock basis as follows:

if there exists a unique integer \(m\) such that \(\begin{cases}c_n=1& n=m\\c_n=0&n\neq m\end{cases}\), then the single mode is simply a Fock state or \(n\) photon state.

Tip

*Implemented in Strawberry Fields as a state preparation operator by*
`strawberryfields.ops.Fock`

*Available in Strawberry Fields as a NumPy array by* `strawberryfields.utils.fock_state()`

*Implemented in Strawberry Fields as a state preparation operator by*
`strawberryfields.ops.Ket`

When working with an \(N\)-mode density matrix in the Fock basis,

we use the convention that every pair of consecutive dimensions corresponds to a subsystem; i.e.,

Thus, using index notation, we can calculate the reduced density matrix for mode 2 by taking the partial trace over modes 0 and 1:

## Vacuum state¶

Note

By default, newly created modes in Strawberry Fields default to the vacuum state

Definition

The vacuum state \(\ket{0}\) is a Gaussian state defined by

Tip

*Implemented in Strawberry Fields as a state preparation operator by*
`strawberryfields.ops.Vacuum`

*Available in Strawberry Fields as a NumPy array by* `strawberryfields.utils.vacuum_state()`

In the Fock basis, it is represented by Fock state \(\ket{0}\), and in the Gaussian formulation, by \(\bar{\mathbf{r}}=(0,0)\) and \(\mathbf{V}= \frac{\hbar}{2} I\).

## Coherent state¶

Definition

The coherent state \(\ket{\alpha}\), \(\alpha\in\mathbb{C}\) is a displaced vacuum state defined by

Tip

*Implemented in Strawberry Fields as a state preparation operator by*
`strawberryfields.ops.Coherent`

*Available in Strawberry Fields as a NumPy array by*
`strawberryfields.utils.coherent_state()`

A coherent state is a minimum uncertainty state, and the eigenstate of the annihilation operator:

In the Fock basis, it has the decomposition

whilst in the Gaussian formulation, \(\bar{\mathbf{r}}=2 \sqrt{\frac{\hbar}{2}}(\text{Re}(\alpha), \text{Im}(\alpha))\) and \(\mathbf{V}= \frac{\hbar}{2} I\).

## Squeezed state¶

Definition

The squeezed state \(\ket{z}\), \(z=re^{i\phi}\) is a squeezed vacuum state defined by

Tip

*Implemented in Strawberry Fields as a state preparation operator by*
`strawberryfields.ops.Squeezed`

*Available in Strawberry Fields as a NumPy array by*
`strawberryfields.utils.squeezed_state()`

A squeezed state is a minimum uncertainty state with unequal quadrature variances, and satisfies the following eigenstate equation:

In the Fock basis, it has the decomposition

whilst in the Gaussian formulation, \(\bar{\mathbf{r}} = (0,0)\), \(\mathbf{V} = \frac{\hbar}{2}R(\phi/2)\begin{bmatrix}e^{-2r} & 0 \\0 & e^{2r} \\\end{bmatrix}R(\phi/2)^T\).

We can use the squeezed vacuum state to approximate the zero position and zero momentum eigenstates;

where \(z=r\) is sufficiently large.

## Displaced squeezed state¶

Definition

The displaced squeezed state \(\ket{\alpha, z}\), \(\alpha\in\mathbb{C}\), \(z=re^{i\phi}\) is a displaced and squeezed vacuum state defined by

Tip

*Implemented in Strawberry Fields as a state preparation operator by*
`strawberryfields.ops.DisplacedSqueezed`

*Available in Strawberry Fields as a NumPy array by*
`strawberryfields.utils.displaced_squeezed_state()`

In the Fock basis, it has the decomposition

where \(H_n(x)\) are the Hermite polynomials defined by \(H_n(x)=(-1)^n e^{x^2}\frac{d}{dx}e^{-x^2}\). Alternatively, in the Gaussian formulation, \(\bar{\mathbf{r}} = 2 \sqrt{\frac{\hbar}{2}}(\text{Re}(\alpha),\text{Im}(\alpha))\) and \(\mathbf{V} = R(\phi/2)\begin{bmatrix}e^{-2r} & 0 \\0 & e^{2r} \\\end{bmatrix}R(\phi/2)^T\)

We can use the displaced squeezed states to approximate the \(x\) position and \(p\) momentum eigenstates;

where \(z=r\) is sufficiently large.

## Thermal state¶

Definition

The thermal state is a mixed Gaussian state defined by

where \(\nbar:=\tr{(\rho(\nbar)\hat{n})}\) is the mean photon number. In the Gaussian formulation one has \(\mathbf{V}=(2 \nbar +1) \frac{\hbar}{2} I\) and \(\bar{\mathbf{r}}=(0,0)\).

Tip

*Implemented in Strawberry Fields as a state preparation operator by*
`strawberryfields.ops.Thermal`

## Cat state¶

Warning

The cat state is **non-Gaussian**, and thus can only be used in the Fock backends, *not* the
Gaussian backend.

Definition

The cat state is a non-Gaussian superposition of coherent states

with the even cat state given for \(\phi=0\), and the odd cat state given for \(\phi=\pi\).

Tip

*Implemented in Strawberry Fields as a state preparation operator by*
`strawberryfields.ops.Catstate`

*Implemented in Strawberry Fields as a NumPy array by* `strawberryfields.utils.cat_state()`

In the case where \(\alpha<1.2\), the cat state can be approximated by the squeezed single photon state \(S\ket{1}\).

## References¶

- 1
Christian Weedbrook, Stefano Pirandola, Raúl García-Patrón, Nicolas J. Cerf, Timothy C. Ralph, Jeffrey H. Shapiro, and Seth Lloyd. Gaussian quantum information. Reviews of Modern Physics, 84(2):621–669, May 2012. arXiv:1110.3234, doi:10.1103/revmodphys.84.621.

- 2
Claude Bloch and Albert Messiah. The canonical form of an antisymmetric tensor and its application to the theory of superconductivity. Nuclear Physics, 39:95–106, 1962.

- 3
Samuel L Braunstein. Squeezing as an irreducible resource. Physical Review A, 71(5):055801, 2005.

- 4
R Simon, N Mukunda, and Biswadeb Dutta. Quantum-noise matrix for multimode systems: $U(n)$ invariance, squeezing, and normal forms. Physical Review A, 49(3):1567, 1994.

## Contents

## Downloads

## Related tutorials