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Phys Rev Lett. 2014 Apr 18;112(15):150501. Epub 2014 Apr 15.

Extracting entanglement from identical particles.

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Institut für Theoretische Physik, Albert-Einstein-Allee 11, Universität Ulm, D-89069 Ulm, Germany.


Identical particles and entanglement are both fundamental components of quantum mechanics. However, when identical particles are condensed in a single spatial mode, the standard notions of entanglement, based on clearly identifiable subsystems, break down. This has led many to conclude that such systems have limited value for quantum information tasks, compared to distinguishable particle systems. To the contrary, we show that any entanglement formally appearing amongst the identical particles, including entanglement due purely to symmetrization, can be extracted into an entangled state of independent modes, which can then be applied to any task. In fact, the entanglement of the mode system is in one-to-one correspondence with the entanglement between the inaccessible identical particles. This settles the long-standing debate about the resource capabilities of such states, in particular spin-squeezed states of Bose-Einstein condensates, while also revealing a new perspective on how and when entanglement is generated in passive optical networks. Our results thus reveal new fundamental connections between entanglement, squeezing, and indistinguishability.

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