I have read some of the other decomposition questions here however still don't understand how to do it manually. The matrix I wish to decompose is the following for 2 qubits:

$M=\frac{1}{\sqrt2}\begin{bmatrix} 1 & 0 & 0& i\\ 0 & 1& i & 0\\ 0 & i & 1 & 0\\ i & 0& 0 & 1 \end{bmatrix}$

I have used the Qiskit circuit decompose to find that it corresponds to the following image, but I don't understand how that was done.enter image description here

Also Qiskit is only able to decompose for up to 2 qubits. My application for the matrix expands beyond 2 qubits and I would also like to know how to decompose for more.

Any help on the step by step process of decomposition would be appreciated as well as any insight on multiple qubit decomposition :)


2 Answers 2


I found paper Quantum Circuits for Isometries to be a useful reference on the topic. It describes several methods for decomposing multi-qubit unitaries into CNOT gates and qubit unitaries and also gives several references to earlier related works.

There is also a Mathematica package that implements algorithms described in the mentioned paper. If you don't have Mathematica you can still probably run it using Wolfram Engine and Wolfram Language for Jupyter.

For decomposition of two-qubit unitaries with minimal CNOT count quant-ph/0308033 is a good reference.


You can found some interesting approaches to decomposing gates also here: https://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/9503016 (Elementary gates for quantum computation).


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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