Revealing nonclassicality beyond Gaussian states via a single marginal distribution. Academic Article uri icon


  • A standard method to obtain information on a quantum state is to measure marginal distributions along many different axes in phase space, which forms a basis of quantum-state tomography. We theoretically propose and experimentally demonstrate a general framework to manifest nonclassicality by observing a single marginal distribution only, which provides a unique insight into nonclassicality and a practical applicability to various quantum systems. Our approach maps the 1D marginal distribution into a factorized 2D distribution by multiplying the measured distribution or the vacuum-state distribution along an orthogonal axis. The resulting fictitious Wigner function becomes unphysical only for a nonclassical state; thus the negativity of the corresponding density operator provides evidence of nonclassicality. Furthermore, the negativity measured this way yields a lower bound for entanglement potential-a measure of entanglement generated using a nonclassical state with a beam-splitter setting that is a prototypical model to produce continuous-variable (CV) entangled states. Our approach detects both Gaussian and non-Gaussian nonclassical states in a reliable and efficient manner. Remarkably, it works regardless of measurement axis for all non-Gaussian states in finite-dimensional Fock space of any size, also extending to infinite-dimensional states of experimental relevance for CV quantum informatics. We experimentally illustrate the power of our criterion for motional states of a trapped ion, confirming their nonclassicality in a measurement-axis-independent manner. We also address an extension of our approach combined with phase-shift operations, which leads to a stronger test of nonclassicality, that is, detection of genuine non-Gaussianity under a CV measurement.

published proceedings

  • Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

altmetric score

  • 1.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Park, J., Lu, Y., Lee, J., Shen, Y., Zhang, K., Zhang, S., ... Nha, H.

citation count

  • 30

complete list of authors

  • Park, Jiyong||Lu, Yao||Lee, Jaehak||Shen, Yangchao||Zhang, Kuan||Zhang, Shuaining||Zubairy, Muhammad Suhail||Kim, Kihwan||Nha, Hyunchul

publication date

  • January 2017