Concepts in quantum state tomography and classical implementation with intense light: a tutorial

Date Published:



A tomographic measurement is a ubiquitous tool for estimating the properties of quantum states, and its application is known as quantum state tomography (QST). The process involves manipulating single photons in a sequence of projective measurements, often to construct a density matrix from which other information can be inferred, and is as laborious as it is complex. Here we unravel the steps of a QST and outline how it may be demonstrated in a fast and simple manner with intense (classical) light. We use scalar beams in a time reversal approach to simulate the outcome of a QST and exploit non-separability in classical vector beams as a means to treat the latter as a ``classically entangled'' state for illustrating QSTs directly. We provide a complete do-it-yourself resource for the practical implementation of this approach, complete with tutorial video, which we hope will facilitate the introduction of this core quantum tool into teaching and research laboratories alike. Our work highlights the value of using intense classical light as a means to study quantum systems and in the process provides a tutorial on the fundamentals of QSTs.