Date of Award

5-1-2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Physics

First Advisor

Byrd, Mark

Abstract

The development of a quantum computer presents one of the greatest challenges in science and engineering to date. The promise of more efficient computing based on entangled quantum states and the superposition principle has led to a worldwide explosion of interest in the fields of quantum information and computation. Among the number of hurdles which must first be cleared before we witness a physical realization are problems associated with environment-induced decoherence and noise more generally. However, the discovery of quantum error correction and the establishment of the accuracy threshold theorem provide us with the hope of someday harnessing the potential power a functioning fault-tolerant quantum information processor has to offer. This dissertation contributes to this effort by investigating a particular class of quantum error correcting codes, namely noiseless subsystem encodings. The passive approach to error correction taken by these encodings provides an efficient means of protection from symmetrically coupled system-environment interactions. Here I will present methods for determining the subsystem-preserving evolutions for noiseless subsystem encodings supported by arbitrary-dimensional physical quantum systems. Implications for universal, collective decoherence-free quantum computation using the derived operations are discussed. Moreover, I will present a proposal for an optical device which is capable of preparing a variety of these noiseless subsystem encodings through a postselection strategy.

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