5
$\begingroup$

I'm doing an exercise to trace out the second qubit to find the reduced density operator for the first qubit:

$tr_2|11\rangle\langle00| = |1\rangle\langle0|\langle0|1\rangle$

I'm just wondering if I do trace for the first qubit, should I have:

$tr_1|11\rangle\langle00| = |1\rangle\langle0|\langle0|1\rangle$ or $tr_1|11\rangle\langle00| = \langle0|1\rangle|1\rangle\langle0|$ ?

In the Nielsen-and-Chuang textbook, we have $tr(|b_1\rangle\langle b_2|)=\langle b_2|b_1\rangle$. Can I say the left and right hand side are just two ways to locate an element in a matrix? Thanks!!

$\endgroup$
1

2 Answers 2

6
$\begingroup$

Suppose you have the state $|\psi\rangle = \dfrac{|00\rangle + |11\rangle}{\sqrt{2}} = \dfrac{1}{\sqrt{2}}\begin{pmatrix} 1 \\ 0 \\ 0 \\ 1 \end{pmatrix} $ then its density matrix representation is

$$ \rho = |\psi \rangle \langle \psi | = \dfrac{1}{2} \begin{pmatrix} 1 & 0 & 0 & 1\\ 0 & 0 & 0 & 0\\ 0 & 0 & 0 & 0 \\ 1 & 0 & 0 & 1 \end{pmatrix} $$

Now, if we want to trace out the subsystem $B$ to find the density operator of the system $A$ denoted as $\rho_A$ then we can do the following:

$$ \rho_A = Tr_B(\rho) = \dfrac{1}{2} \begin{pmatrix} Tr\begin{pmatrix} 1 & 0\\ 0 & 0 \end{pmatrix} & Tr\begin{pmatrix} 0 & 1\\ 0 & 0 \end{pmatrix}\\ Tr\begin{pmatrix} 0 & 0\\ 1 & 0 \end{pmatrix} & Tr\begin{pmatrix} 0 & 0\\ 0 & 1 \end{pmatrix} \end{pmatrix} = \dfrac{1}{2} \begin{pmatrix} 1 & 0\\ 0 & 1 \end{pmatrix}$$

It turns out that $\rho_B = Tr_A(\rho)$ is the same as $\rho_A$ here and from looking at the state, you might expect why that is the case.


More generally, giving a density operator

$$ \rho = \begin{pmatrix} \rho_{11} & \rho_{12} & \rho_{13} & \rho_{14}\\ \rho_{21} & \rho_{22} & \rho_{23} & \rho_{24}\\ \rho_{31} & \rho_{32} & \rho_{33} & \rho_{34} \\ \rho_{41} & \rho_{42} & \rho_{43} & \rho_{44} \end{pmatrix}$$

then

$$ \rho_A = Tr_B(\rho) = \begin{pmatrix} Tr\begin{pmatrix} \rho_{11} & \rho_{12}\\\rho_{21} & \rho_{22} \end{pmatrix} & Tr\begin{pmatrix} \rho_{13} & \rho_{14} \\ \rho_{23} & \rho_{24} \end{pmatrix}\\ Tr\begin{pmatrix} \rho_{31} & \rho_{32} \\ \rho_{41} & \rho_{42} \end{pmatrix} & Tr\begin{pmatrix}\rho_{33} & \rho_{34} \\ \rho_{43} & \rho_{44} \end{pmatrix} \end{pmatrix} = \begin{pmatrix} \rho_{11} + \rho_{22} & \rho_{13} + \rho_{24} \\ \rho_{31} + \rho_{42} & \rho_{33} + \rho_{44} \end{pmatrix} $$

and

$$ \rho_B = Tr_A(\rho) = \begin{pmatrix} Tr\begin{pmatrix} \rho_{11} & \rho_{13}\\\rho_{31} & \rho_{33} \end{pmatrix} & Tr\begin{pmatrix} \rho_{12} & \rho_{14} \\ \rho_{32} & \rho_{34} \end{pmatrix}\\ Tr\begin{pmatrix} \rho_{21} & \rho_{23} \\ \rho_{41} & \rho_{43} \end{pmatrix} & Tr\begin{pmatrix}\rho_{22} & \rho_{24} \\ \rho_{42} & \rho_{44} \end{pmatrix} \end{pmatrix} = \begin{pmatrix} \rho_{11} + \rho_{33} & \rho_{12} + \rho_{34} \\ \rho_{21} + \rho_{43} & \rho_{22} + \rho_{44} \end{pmatrix} $$

$\endgroup$
2
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the answer! How can we represent the subsystem A and B in the general case? $\endgroup$
    – ZR-
    Commented Jan 20, 2021 at 3:09
  • $\begingroup$ @Zhengrong hmm... do you mean when the subsystem is different than 2-by-2 matrix? $\endgroup$
    – KAJ226
    Commented Jan 20, 2021 at 7:25
3
$\begingroup$

If you split your state into a bipartite system $\rho_{AB} \in \mathcal{H}_A \otimes \mathcal{H}_B$ then one general formula for a partial trace is given by:

$$ \text{Tr}_B (\rho) = \sum_{j} (I_A \otimes \langle j |_B) \rho (I_A \otimes | j \rangle_B) $$

where $\{ |j\rangle \}$ is a basis for system $B$. In your case, for the first statement you can use this formula to find

\begin{align} \text{Tr}_B (|11\rangle\langle00|) &= \sum_{j} (I_A \otimes \langle j |_B) |11\rangle\langle00| (I_A \otimes | j \rangle_B) \\ &= (I_A \otimes \langle 0 |_B) |1\rangle_A |1\rangle_B \langle0|_A \langle0|_B (I_A \otimes | 0 \rangle_B) \\ &\qquad+ (I_A \otimes \langle 1 |_B) |1\rangle_A |1\rangle_B \langle0|_A \langle0|_B (I_A \otimes | 1 \rangle_B)\\ &= |1\rangle\langle0|_A (\langle 0|1\rangle\langle 0|0\rangle) + |1\rangle\langle 0|_A(\langle1|1\rangle\langle0|1\rangle) \\ &= |1\rangle\langle0|_A \langle 0| 1\rangle (\langle 0|0\rangle + \langle 1|1\rangle) \\ &= 0 \end{align} and you can do a similar calculation to derive the second statement.

$\endgroup$

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.