Suitability versus fidelity for rating single-photon guns

George M. Hockney, Pieter Kok and Jonathan P. Dowling

Physical Review A 67, 032306 (2003)


The creation of known quantum states is important for most, if not all, applications in quantum computation and communication. The quality of the state preparation is therefore an essential ingredient in any assessment of a quantum-state gun. We show that the fidelity, under the standard definitions is not sufficient to assess quantum sources, and we propose a new measure of suitability that necessarily depends on the application for the source. We consider the performance of single-photon guns in the context of quantum key distribution (QKD) and interferometric quantum computation. Single-photon sources for QKD need radically different properties than sources for quantum computing. Furthermore, the suitability for single-photon guns is discussed explicitly in terms of experimentally accesible criteria.

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© 2020 Pieter Kok

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