Quantum complementarity: A novel resource for unambiguous exclusion and encryption

by   Chung-Yun Hsieh, et al.

Complementarity is a phenomenon explaining several core features of quantum theory, such as the well-known uncertainty principle. Roughly speaking, two objects are said to be complementary if being certain about one of them necessarily forbids useful knowledge about the other. Two quantum measurements that do not commute form an example of complementary measurements, and this phenomenon can also be defined for ensembles of states. Although a key quantum feature, it is unclear whether complementarity can be understood more operationally, as a necessary resource in some quantum information task. Here we show this is the case, and relates to a novel task which we term η-unambiguous exclusion. As well as giving complementarity a clear operational definition, this also uncovers the foundational underpinning of unambiguous exclusion tasks for the first time. We further show that a special type of measurement complementarity is equivalent to advantages in certain encryption tasks. Finally, our analysis suggest that complementarity of measurement and state ensemble can be interpreted as strong forms of measurement incompatibility and quantum steering, respectively.


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