From clocks to cloners: Catalytic transformations under covariant operations and recoverability

Journal Article

There are various physical scenarios in which one can only implement operations with a certain symmetry. Under such restriction, a system in a symmetry-breaking state can be used as a catalyst, e.g. to prepare another system in a desired symmetry-breaking state. This sort of (approximate) catalytic state transformations are relevant in the context of (i) state preparation using a bounded-size quantum clock or reference frame, where the clock or reference frame acts as a catalyst, (ii) quantum thermodynamics, where again a clock can be used as a catalyst to prepare states which contain coherence with respect to the system Hamiltonian, and (iii) cloning of unknown quantum states, where the given copies of state can be interpreted as a catalyst for preparing the new copies. Using a recent result of Fawzi and Renner on approximate recoverability, we show that the achievable accuracy in this kind of catalytic transformations can be determined by a single function, namely the relative entropy of asymmetry, which is equal to the difference between the entropy of state and its symmetrized version: if the desired state transition does not require a large increase of this quantity, then it can be implemented with high fidelity using only symmetric operations. Our lower bound on the achievable fidelity is tight in the case of cloners, and can be achieved using the Petz recovery map, which interestingly turns out to be the optimal cloning map found by Werner.

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Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Marvian, I; Lloyd, S