Photonic quantum information and experimental tests of foundations of quantum mechanics
Sammanfattning: Entanglement is a key resource in many quantum information schemes and in the last years the research on multi-qubit entanglement has drawn lots of attention. In this thesis the experimental generation and characterisation of multi-qubit entanglement is presented. Specifically we have prepared entangled states of up to six qubits. The qubits were implemented in the polarisation degree of freedom of single photons. We emphasise that one type of states that we produce are rotationally invariant states, remaining unchanged under simultaneous identical unitary transformations of all their individual constituents. Such states can be applied to e.g. decoherence-free encoding, quantum communication without sharing a common reference frame, quantum telecloning, secret sharing and remote state preparation schemes. They also have properties which are interesting in studies of foundations of quantum mechanics.In the experimental implementation we use a single source of entangled photon pairs, based on parametric down-conversion, and extract the first, second and third order events. Our experimental setup is completely free from interferometric overlaps, making it robust and contributing to a high fidelity of the generated states. To our knowledge, the achieved fidelity is the highest that has been observed for six-qubit entangled states and our measurement results are in very good agreement with predictions of quantum theory.We have also performed another novel test of the foundations of quantum mechanics. It is based on an inequality that is fulfilled by any non-contextual hidden variable theory, but can be violated by quantum mechanics. This test is similar to Bell inequality tests, which rule out local hidden variable theories as possible completions of quantum mechanics. Here, however, we show that non-contextual hidden variable theories cannot explain certain experimental results, which are consistent with quantum mechanics. Hence, neither of these theories can be used to make quantum mechanics complete.
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