Journal of Mathematical Sciences

, Volume 216, Issue 1, pp 23–40 | Cite as

Orthogonal Pairs and Mutually Unbiased Bases


The goal of our article is a study of related mathematical and physical objects: orthogonal pairs in sl(n) and mutually unbiased bases inn. An orthogonal pair in a simple Lie algebra is a pair of Cartan subalgebras that are orthogonal with respect to the Killing form. The description of orthogonal pairs in a given Lie algebra is an important step in the classification of orthogonal decompositions, i.e., decompositions of the Lie algebra into a direct sum of Cartan subalgebras pairwise orthogonal with respect to the Killing form. One of the important notions of quantum mechanics, quantum information theory, and quantum teleportation is the notion of mutually unbiased bases in the Hilbert spacen. Two orthonormal bases {ei}i = 1n, {fj}j = 1nare mutually unbiased if and only if\( {\left|\left\langle {e}_i\left|{f}_j\right.\right\rangle \right|}^2=\frac{1}{n} \)for any i, j = 1,…, n. The notions of mutually unbiased bases innand orthogonal pairs in sl(n) are closely related. The problem of classification of orthogonal pairs in sl(n) and the closely related problem of classification of mutually unbiased bases innare still open even for the case n = 6. In this article, we give a sketch of our proof that there is a complex four-dimensional family of orthogonal pairs in sl(6). This proof requires a lot of algebraic geometry and representation theory. Further, we give an application of the result on the algebraic geometric family to the study of mutually unbiased bases. We show the existence of a real four-dimensional family of mutually unbiased bases in6, thus solving a long-standing problem. Bibliography: 24 titles.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Steklov Institute of MathematicsMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (WPI)The University of TokyoKashiwaJapan
  3. 3.HSE Laboratory of Algebraic GeometryMoscowRussia
  4. 4.The Institute for Fundamental ScienceMoscowRussia
  5. 5.Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology; HSE Laboratory of Algebraic GeometryMoscowRussia

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