View More View Less
  • 1 Chinese Academy of Sciences Academy of Mathematics and Systems Science 100190 Beijing People’s Republic of China
  • 2 Huazhong University of Science and Technology School of Mathematics and Statistics 430074 Wuhan People’s Republic of China
Restricted access


Relative entropy between two quantum states, which quantifies to what extent the quantum states can be distinguished via whatever methods allowed by quantum mechanics, is a central and fundamental quantity in quantum information theory. However, in both theoretical analysis (such as selective measurements) and practical situations (such as random experiments), one is often encountered with quantum ensembles, which are families of quantum states with certain prior probability distributions. How can we quantify the quantumness and distinguishability of quantum ensembles? In this paper, by use of a probabilistic coupling technique, we propose a notion of relative entropy between quantum ensembles, which is a natural generalization of the relative entropy between quantum states. This generalization enjoys most of the basic and important properties of the original relative entropy. As an application, we use the notion of relative entropy between quantum ensembles to define a measure for quantumness of quantum ensembles. This quantity may be useful in quantum cryptography since in certain circumstances it is desirable to encode messages in quantum ensembles which are the most quantum, thus the most sensitive to eavesdropping. By use of this measure of quantumness, we demonstrate that a set consisting of two pure states is the most quantum when the states are 45° apart.