Probing quantumness with joint continuous measurements of noncommuting qubit observables

Abstract

We analyze the continuous measurement of two non-commuting observables for a qubit, and investigate whether the simultaneously observed noisy signals are consistent with the evolution of an equivalent classical system. Following the approach outlined by Leggett and Garg, we show that the readouts violate macrorealistic inequalities for arbitrarily short temporal correlations. Moreover, the derived inequalities are manifestly violated even in the absence of Hamiltonian evolution, unlike for Leggett-Garg inequalities that use a single continuous measurement. Such a violation should indicate the failure of at least one postulate of macrorealism: either physical quantities do not have well defined values at all times, or the measurement process itself disturbs what is being measured. For measurements of equal strength we are able to construct a classical stochastic model for a spin that perfectly emulates both the qubit evolution and the observed noisy signals, thus emulating the violations; interestingly, this model also requires an unphysical noise to emulate the readouts, which effectively restricts the ability of an observer to learn information about the spin.

Publication
Physical Review A
Justin Dressel
Justin Dressel
Associate Professor of Physics

Researches quantum information, computation, and foundations.

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