Quantifying entanglement of overlapping indistinguishable particles
This thesis develops the quantitative study of quantum entanglement in systems of identical particles. Understanding this topic is essential for the construction of quantum information processing devices involving identical particles. A brief overview of necessary concepts and methods, such as the density matrix, the entanglement in pure and mixed states of distinguishable particles, and some common applications of entanglement is given in the introduction. Some competing methods of calculating the entanglement in bipartite pure states of indistinguishable particles are examined. It is shown that only the 'site entropy' measure introduced by Zanardi satisfies all the criteria for a correct entanglement measure. A teleportation protocol which utilizes all the entanglement carried (in both the spin and space degrees of freedom) in a doubly- occupied molecular bonding orbital is presented. The output from an interferometer in a thought experiment described by Omar et al. is studied as an example to see whether entanglement can be separated into space-only, spin-only, and space-spin components. A similar exercise is performed for a doubly-occupied molecular bonding orbital. The relationship between these results and the application of superselection rules (SSRs) to the quantification of useful entanglement is discussed. A numerical method for estimating the entanglement of formation of a mixed state of arbitrary dimension by a conjugate gradient algorithm is described. The results of applying an implementation of the algorithm to both random and isotropic states of 2 qutrits (i.e. two three-dimensional systems) is described. Existing work on calculating entanglement between two sites in various spin systems is outlined. New methods for calculating the entanglement between two sites in various types of degenerate quantum gas - a Fermi gas, a Bose condensate, and a BCS superconductor - are described. The results of numerical studies of the entanglement in a normal metal and a BCS superconductor are reported, both with and without the application of superselection rules for local particle number conservation.