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Concept: Bell test experiments


Quantum steering allows two parties to verify shared entanglement even if one measurement device is untrusted. A conclusive demonstration of steering through the violation of a steering inequality is of considerable fundamental interest and opens up applications in quantum communication. To date, all experimental tests with single-photon states have relied on post selection, allowing untrusted devices to cheat by hiding unfavourable events in losses. Here we close this ‘detection loophole’ by combining a highly efficient source of entangled photon pairs with superconducting transition-edge sensors. We achieve an unprecedented ∼62% conditional detection efficiency of entangled photons and violate a steering inequality with the minimal number of measurement settings by 48 s.d.s. Our results provide a clear path to practical applications of steering and to a photonic loophole-free Bell test.

Concepts: Photon, Quantum mechanics, Quantum field theory, Quantum entanglement, Bell's theorem, EPR paradox, Bell test experiments, Local hidden variable theory


More than 50 years ago, John Bell proved that no theory of nature that obeys locality and realism can reproduce all the predictions of quantum theory: in any local-realist theory, the correlations between outcomes of measurements on distant particles satisfy an inequality that can be violated if the particles are entangled. Numerous Bell inequality tests have been reported; however, all experiments reported so far required additional assumptions to obtain a contradiction with local realism, resulting in ‘loopholes’. Here we report a Bell experiment that is free of any such additional assumption and thus directly tests the principles underlying Bell’s inequality. We use an event-ready scheme that enables the generation of robust entanglement between distant electron spins (estimated state fidelity of 0.92 ± 0.03). Efficient spin read-out avoids the fair-sampling assumption (detection loophole), while the use of fast random-basis selection and spin read-out combined with a spatial separation of 1.3 kilometres ensure the required locality conditions. We performed 245 trials that tested the CHSH-Bell inequality S ≤ 2 and found S = 2.42 ± 0.20 (where S quantifies the correlation between measurement outcomes). A null-hypothesis test yields a probability of at most P = 0.039 that a local-realist model for space-like separated sites could produce data with a violation at least as large as we observe, even when allowing for memory in the devices. Our data hence imply statistically significant rejection of the local-realist null hypothesis. This conclusion may be further consolidated in future experiments; for instance, reaching a value of P = 0.001 would require approximately 700 trials for an observed S = 2.4. With improvements, our experiment could be used for testing less-conventional theories, and for implementing device-independent quantum-secure communication and randomness certification.

Concepts: Scientific method, Statistics, Quantum mechanics, Hypothesis, Theory, Quantum entanglement, EPR paradox, Bell test experiments


Bell non-locality between distant quantum systems-that is, joint correlations which violate a Bell inequality-can be verified without trusting the measurement devices used, nor those performing the measurements. This leads to unconditionally secure protocols for quantum information tasks such as cryptographic key distribution. However, complete verification of Bell non-locality requires high detection efficiencies, and is not robust to typical transmission losses over long distances. In contrast, quantum or Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen steering, a weaker form of quantum correlation, can be verified for arbitrarily low detection efficiencies and high losses. The cost is that current steering-verification protocols require complete trust in one of the measurement devices and its operator, allowing only one-sided secure key distribution. Here we present measurement-device-independent steering protocols that remove this need for trust, even when Bell non-locality is not present. We experimentally demonstrate this principle for singlet states and states that do not violate a Bell inequality.

Concepts: Quantum mechanics, Quantum entanglement, Cryptography, Measurement in quantum mechanics, Bell's theorem, EPR paradox, Bell test experiments, Local hidden variable theory


Quantum entanglement is the ability of joint quantum systems to possess global properties (correlation among systems) even when subsystems have no definite individual property. Whilst the 2-dimensional (qubit) case is well-understood, currently, tools to characterise entanglement in high dimensions are limited. We experimentally demonstrate a new procedure for entanglement certification that is suitable for large systems, based entirely on information-theoretics. It scales more efficiently than Bell’s inequality and entanglement witness. The method we developed works for arbitrarily large system dimension d and employs only two local measurements of complementary properties. This procedure can also certify whether the system is maximally entangled. We illustrate the protocol for families of bipartite states of qudits with dimension up to 32 composed of polarisation-entangled photon pairs.

Concepts: Quantum mechanics, Quantum information science, Dimension, Quantum entanglement, Interpretation of quantum mechanics, Bell's theorem, EPR paradox, Bell test experiments


Precision control over hybrid physical systems at the quantum level is important for the realization of many quantum-based technologies. In the field of quantum information processing (QIP) and quantum networking, various proposals discuss the possibility of hybrid architectures where specific tasks are delegated to the most suitable subsystem. For example, in quantum networks, it may be advantageous to transfer information from a subsystem that has good memory properties to another subsystem that is more efficient at transporting information between nodes in the network. For trapped ions, a hybrid system formed of different species introduces extra degrees of freedom that can be exploited to expand and refine the control of the system. Ions of different elements have previously been used in QIP experiments for sympathetic cooling, creation of entanglement through dissipation, and quantum non-demolition measurement of one species with another. Here we demonstrate an entangling quantum gate between ions of different elements which can serve as an important building block of QIP, quantum networking, precision spectroscopy, metrology, and quantum simulation. A geometric phase gate between a (9)Be(+) ion and a (25)Mg(+) ion is realized through an effective spin-spin interaction generated by state-dependent forces induced with laser beams. Combined with single-qubit gates and same-species entangling gates, this mixed-element entangling gate provides a complete set of gates over such a hybrid system for universal QIP. Using a sequence of such gates, we demonstrate a CNOT (controlled-NOT) gate and a SWAP gate. We further demonstrate the robustness of these gates against thermal excitation and show improved detection in quantum logic spectroscopy. We also observe a strong violation of a CHSH (Clauser-Horne-Shimony-Holt)-type Bell inequality on entangled states composed of different ion species.

Concepts: Quantum mechanics, Quantum information science, Chemistry, Control theory, Quantum information, Quantum entanglement, Bell's theorem, Bell test experiments


Bell’s theorem proves the existence of entangled quantum states with no classical counterpart. An experimental violation of Bell’s inequality demands simultaneously high fidelities in the preparation, manipulation and measurement of multipartite quantum entangled states, and provides a single-number benchmark for the performance of devices that use such states for quantum computing. We demonstrate a Bell/ Clauser-Horne-Shimony-Holt inequality violation with Bell signals up to 2.70(9), using the electron and the nuclear spins of a single phosphorus atom embedded in a silicon nanoelectronic device. Two-qubit state tomography reveals that our prepared states match the target maximally entangled Bell states with >96% fidelity. These experiments demonstrate complete control of the two-qubit Hilbert space of a phosphorus atom and highlight the important function of the nuclear qubit to expand the computational basis and maximize the readout fidelity.

Concepts: Quantum mechanics, Quantum information science, Quantum entanglement, Interpretation of quantum mechanics, Measurement in quantum mechanics, Bell's theorem, EPR paradox, Bell test experiments


The violation of a Bell inequality is an experimental observation that forces the abandonment of a local realistic viewpoint-namely, one in which physical properties are (probabilistically) defined before and independently of measurement, and in which no physical influence can propagate faster than the speed of light. All such experimental violations require additional assumptions depending on their specific construction, making them vulnerable to so-called loopholes. Here we use entangled photons to violate a Bell inequality while closing the fair-sampling loophole, that is, without assuming that the sample of measured photons accurately represents the entire ensemble. To do this, we use the Eberhard form of Bell’s inequality, which is not vulnerable to the fair-sampling assumption and which allows a lower collection efficiency than other forms. Technical improvements of the photon source and high-efficiency transition-edge sensors were crucial for achieving a sufficiently high collection efficiency. Our experiment makes the photon the first physical system for which each of the main loopholes has been closed, albeit in different experiments.

Concepts: Quantum mechanics, Fundamental physics concepts, Test method, Quantum entanglement, Bell's theorem, EPR paradox, Bell test experiments, Local hidden variable theory


Quantum technologies promise advantages over their classical counterparts in the fields of computation, security and sensing. It is thus desirable that classical users are able to obtain guarantees on quantum devices, even without any knowledge of their inner workings. That such classical certification is possible at all is remarkable: it is a consequence of the violation of Bell inequalities by entangled quantum systems. Device-independent self-testing refers to the most complete such certification: it enables a classical user to uniquely identify the quantum state shared by uncharacterized devices by simply inspecting the correlations of measurement outcomes. Self-testing was first demonstrated for the singlet state and a few other examples of self-testable states were reported in recent years. Here, we address the long-standing open question of whether every pure bipartite entangled state is self-testable. We answer it affirmatively by providing explicit self-testing correlations for all such states.

Concepts: Quantum mechanics, Singlet state, Quantum entanglement, Interpretation of quantum mechanics, Measurement in quantum mechanics, Bell's theorem, EPR paradox, Bell test experiments


The recently reported violation of a Bell inequality using entangled electronic spins in diamonds (Hensen et al., Nature 526, 682-686) provided the first loophole-free evidence against local-realist theories of nature. Here we report on data from a second Bell experiment using the same experimental setup with minor modifications. We find a violation of the CHSH-Bell inequality of 2.35 ± 0.18, in agreement with the first run, yielding an overall value of S = 2.38 ± 0.14. We calculate the resulting P-values of the second experiment and of the combined Bell tests. We provide an additional analysis of the distribution of settings choices recorded during the two tests, finding that the observed distributions are consistent with uniform settings for both tests. Finally, we analytically study the effect of particular models of random number generator (RNG) imperfection on our hypothesis test. We find that the winning probability per trial in the CHSH game can be bounded knowing only the mean of the RNG bias. This implies that our experimental result is robust for any model underlying the estimated average RNG bias, for random bits produced up to 690 ns too early by the random number generator.

Concepts: Scientific method, Statistics, Quantum mechanics, Hypothesis, Hardware random number generator, Cumulative distribution function, Bell's theorem, Bell test experiments


Randomness is a fundamental concept, with implications from security of modern data systems, to fundamental laws of nature and even the philosophy of science. Randomness is called certified if it describes events that cannot be pre-determined by an external adversary. It is known that weak certified randomness can be amplified to nearly ideal randomness using quantum-mechanical systems. However, so far, it was unclear whether randomness amplification is a realistic task, as the existing proposals either do not tolerate noise or require an unbounded number of different devices. Here we provide an error-tolerant protocol using a finite number of devices for amplifying arbitrary weak randomness into nearly perfect random bits, which are secure against a no-signalling adversary. The correctness of the protocol is assessed by violating a Bell inequality, with the degree of violation determining the noise tolerance threshold. An experimental realization of the protocol is within reach of current technology.

Concepts: Quantum mechanics, Science, Philosophy of science, Philosophy, Determinism, Grammatical conjugation, Bell's theorem, Bell test experiments