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The European Physical Journal D

, Volume 64, Issue 2–3, pp 181–196 | Cite as

Entanglement or separability: the choice of how to factorize the algebra of a density matrix

  • W. Thirring
  • R. A. BertlmannEmail author
  • P. Köhler
  • H. Narnhofer
Colloquium

Abstract

Quantum entanglement has become a resource for the fascinating developments in quantum information and quantum communication during the last decades. It quantifies a certain nonclassical correlation property of a density matrix representing the quantum state of a composite system. We discuss the concept of how entanglement changes with respect to different factorizations of the algebra which describes the total quantum system. Depending on the considered factorization a quantum state appears either entangled or separable. For pure states we always can switch unitarily between separability and entanglement, however, for mixed states a minimal amount of mixedness is needed. We discuss our general statements in detail for the familiar case of qubits, the GHZ states, Werner states and Gisin states, emphasizing their geometric features. As theorists we use and play with this free choice of factorization, which for an experimentalist is often naturally fixed. For theorists it offers an extension of the interpretations and is adequate to generalizations, as we point out in the examples of quantum teleportation and entanglement swapping.

Keywords

Quantum State Density Matrix Entangle State Unitary Transformation Separable State 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© EDP Sciences, SIF, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Thirring
    • 1
  • R. A. Bertlmann
    • 1
    Email author
  • P. Köhler
    • 1
  • H. Narnhofer
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of PhysicsUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria

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