Journal Title

Physical Review A

Publication Date



Conventionally, unknown quantum states are characterized using quantum-state tomography based on strong or weak measurements carried out on an ensemble of identically prepared systems. By contrast, the use of protective measurements offers the possibility of determining quantum states from a series of weak, long measurements performed on a single system. Because the fidelity of a protectively measured quantum state is determined by the amount of state disturbance incurred during each protective measurement, it is crucial that the initial quantum state of the system is disturbed as little as possible. Here we show how to systematically minimize the state disturbance in the course of a protective measurement, thus enabling the maximization of the fidelity of the quantum-state measurement. Our approach is based on a careful tuning of the time dependence of the measurement interaction and is shown to be dramatically more effective in reducing the state disturbance than the previously considered strategy of weakening the measurement strength and increasing the measurement time. We describe a method for designing the measurement interaction such that the state disturbance exhibits polynomial decay to arbitrary order in the inverse measurement time 1 / T. We also show how one can achieve even faster, subexponential decay, and we find that it represents the smallest possible state disturbance in a protective measurement. In this way, our results show how to optimally measure the state of a single quantum system using protective measurements.


Quantum Physics; Quantum Theory

Publication Information

Physical Review A, 2016, Volume 93, 1-7.

©2015 American Physical Society

Archived version is the final published version.





Document Type

Journal Article

Included in

Physics Commons