1 Department of Physics, Technical University of Denmark2 Quantum Physics and Information Techology, Department of Physics, Technical University of Denmark
The thesis is built up around a versatile optical experimental setup based on a laser, two optical parametric ampliers, a few sets of modulators and two sets of homodyne detectors, which together with passive linear optics generate, process and characterize various types of Gaussian quantum states. Using this setup we have experimentally and theoretically investigated Gaussian quantum discord, continuous variable quantum key distribution and quantum polarization. The Gaussian discord broadens the definition of non-classical correlations from entanglement, to all types of correlations which cannot be extracted by local measurements due to the limitations dictated by the Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. We experimentally characterize the evolution of the discord of EPR states and mixtures of coherent states in an attenuating channel. We demonstrate that the discord can grow by local dissipation in the mixture of coherent states. Further we investigate the robustness of the discord of a broader range of states and suggest a toolbox of states which can be used to test if a protocol is discord based, before performing a rigid proof. Gaussian quantum key distribution can be implemented with current commercially available equipment. However the performance in terms of achievable distance is highly limited. We first experimentally demonstrate that the boundaries of coherent states can be surpassed using modulated entangled states. A simplied experiment is also presented where the modulation of a single-mode squeezed state gives a very reconciliation efficiency robust protocol. All of this is done to achieve higher key rates at the current limits of the coherent state protocols and to extend the boundaries for tolerable channel noise, loss and reconciliation efficiency. As any degree of squeezing improves the performance the extra effort of implementing squeezing in commercial devices is overshadowed by the extended range and increased security margin achieved. Still using the same experimental setup, but now in the context of polarization we have experimentally bridged the gab between the states with very low photon numbers and the states where one of Stokes parameters is highly excited. To describe the polarization of these state we introduce several new polarization measures which take into account the covariance of the polarization and resolve the polarization manifolds. We experimentally demonstrate states for which the polarization is hidden in the unresolved measures and as well a state which is unpolarized for both first order polarization measures. Finally we illustrate the polarization with SU2 Wigner functions to give a richer picture, not only of the degree of polarization but also its distribution among the manifolds.