O. Jiménez, M. A. Solís-Prosser, A. Delgado and L. Neves
PHYSICAL REVIEW A 84 (2011)
We study the maximum-confidence (MC) measurement strategy for discriminating among nonorthogonal symmetric qudit states. Restricting to linearly dependent and equally likely pure states, we find the optimal positive operator valued measure (POVM) that maximizes our confidence in identifying each state in the set and minimizes the probability of obtaining inconclusive results. The physical realization of this POVM is completely determined and it is shown that after an inconclusive outcome, the input states may be mapped into a new set of equiprobable symmetric states, restricted, however, to a subspace of the original qudit Hilbert space. By applying the MC measurement again onto this new set, we can still gain some information about the input states, although with less confidence than before. This leads us to introduce the concept of sequential maximum-confidence (SMC) measurements, where the optimized MC strategy is iterated in as many stages as allowed by the input set, until no further information can be extracted from an inconclusive result. Within each stage of this measurement our confidence in identifying the input states is the highest possible, although it decreases from one stage to the next. In addition, the more stages we accomplish within the maximum allowed, the higher will be the probability of correct identification. We will discuss an explicit example of the optimal SMC measurement applied in the discrimination among four symmetric qutrit states and propose an optical network to implement it.