Physics & Astronomy ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 12-17-2016


The development of large-scale platforms that implement quantum information processing protocols requires new methods for verification and validation of quantum behavior. Quantum tomography (QT) is the standard tool for diagnosing quantum states, process, and readout devices by providing complete information about each. However, QT is limited since it is expensive to not only implement experimentally, but also requires heavy classical post-processing of experimental data. In this dissertation, we introduce new methods for QT that are more efficient to implement and robust to noise and errors, thereby making QT a more widely practical tool for current quantum information experiments. The crucial detail that makes these new, efficient, and robust methods possible is prior information about the quantum system. This prior information is prompted by the goals of most experiments in quantum information. Most quantum information processing protocols require pure states, unitary processes, and rank-1 POVM operators. Therefore, most experiments are designed to operate near this ideal regime, and have been tested by other methods to verify this objective. We show that when this is the case, QT can be accomplished with significantly fewer resources, and produce a robust estimate of the state, process, or readout device in the presence of noise and errors. Moreover, the estimate is robust even if the state is not exactly pure, the process is not exactly unitary, or the POVM is not exactly rank-1. Such compelling methods are only made possible by the positivity constraint on quantum states, processes, and POVMs. This requirement is an inherent feature of quantum mechanics, but has powerful consequences to QT. Since QT is necessarily an experimental tool for diagnosing quantum systems, we discuss a test of these new methods in an experimental setting. The physical system is an ensemble of laser-cooled cesium atoms in the laboratory of Prof. Poul Jessen. The atoms are prepared in the hyperfine ground manifold, which provides a large, 16-dimensional Hilbert space to test QT protocols. Experiments were conducted by Hector Sosa-Martinez et al. to demonstrate different QT protocols. We compare the results, and conclude that the new methods are effective for QT.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Physics & Astronomy

First Committee Member (Chair)

Deutsch, Ivan

Second Committee Member

Jessen, Poul

Third Committee Member

Francisco, Becerra

Fourth Committee Member

Caves, Carl

Project Sponsors

The National Science Foundation




Quantum tomography, Quantum information, Atomic physics

Document Type


Included in

Physics Commons