Geometric derivation of the quantum speed limit

Philip J. Jones and Pieter Kok

Physical Review A 82, 022107 (2010)


The Mandelstam-Tamm and Margolus-Levitin inequalities play an important role in the study of quantum mechanical processes in Nature, since they provide general limits on the speed of dynamical evolution. However, to date there has been only one derivation of the Margolus-Levitin inequality. In this paper, alternative geometric derivations for both inequalities are obtained from the statistical distance between quantum states. The inequalities are shown to hold for unitary evolution of pure and mixed states, and a counterexample to the inequalities is given for evolution described by completely positive trace-preserving maps. The counterexample shows that there is no quantum speed limit for non-unitary evolution.

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© 2017 Pieter Kok

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