6.453 | Fall 2016 | Graduate

Quantum Optical Communication


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

About This Course

Welcome to 6.453 Quantum Optical Communication. It is one of a collection of MIT classes that deals with aspects of an emerging field known as quantum information science. As you can divine from its title, this course is about quantum communication, rather than quantum computation, although both of these topics fall under the general rubric of quantum information science. Moreover, this course is far from being an entirely abstract presentation of quantum communication (although such a development is indeed possible) but is instead intimately tied to quantum optics. Finally, this course does not presume a deep background in quantum mechanics or optics, such as would be obtained from one or more semesters of study in the Physics Department, but instead teaches all the basic quantum mechanics that is needed and does not require any electromagnetics knowledge beyond the plane-wave solutions to Maxwell’s equations in a source-free region of empty space.


The preceding paragraph characterizes the course as an outgrowth of quantum optics, i.e., the marriage of quantum mechanics and optics. An alternative, and more informative, way to look at the course is as an outgrowth of communications and especially communication theory. This should be clear from its prerequisites being 6.011 Introduction to Communication, Control, and Signal Processing and 18.06 Linear Algebra, which indicate that this course will build on knowledge of signals and systems, probability, and linear algebra. In particular, we will rely on Fourier transforms, convolutions, probability mass functions, probability density functions, mean values, variances, vectors, matrices, eigenvalues, and eigenvectors. These topics will not be reviewed in the lectures. Instead, they will be probed on Problem Set 1. The supplementary reading for this problem set may help you review, but it is probably better (and easier) if you refer to the course materials you have from wherever and whenever you learned basic signals and systems, probability, and linear algebra.


There is no required text. Readings will be provided, along with suggestions for supplementary reading.

Assignments and Grading

There will be eight problem sets and an in-class mid-term quiz but there will not be a final examination. A term paper will be required.

Problem Sets 20%
Mid-Term Quiz 40%
Term Paper 40%

Note: The term paper is not avalibable to OCW users.

Course Outline

Quantum Optics Dirac notation quantum mechanics; harmonic oscillator quantization; number states, coherent states, and squeezed states; representation and classical fields
Single-Mode and Two-Mode Quantum Systems Direct, homodyne, and heterodyne detection; linear propagation loss; phase insensitive and phase sensitive amplifiers; entanglement and teleportation
Multi-Mode Quantum Systems Field quantization; quantum photodetection
Nonlinear Optics Phase-matched interactions; optical parametric amplifiers; generation of squeezed states, photon-twin beams, non-classical fourth-order interference, and polarization entanglement
Quantum System Theory Optimum binary detection; quantum precision measurements; and quantum cryptography


1 Technical Overview  
2 Fundamentals of Dirac-Notation Quantum Mechanics I  
3 Fundamentals of Dirac-Notation Quantum Mechanics II Problem Set 1 Due
4 Quantum Harmonic Oscillator I  
5 Quantum Harmonic Oscillator II Problem Set 2 Due
6 Quantum Harmonic Oscillator III  
7 Quantum Harmonic Oscillator IV Problem Set 3 Due
8 Quantum Harmonic Oscillator V  
9 Single-Mode Photodetection I Problem Set 4 Due
10 Single-Mode Photodetection II Problem Set 5 Due
11 Single-Mode Photodetection III  
12 Single-Mode and Two-Mode Linear Systems Problem Set 6 Due
13 Two-Mode Linear Systems  
14 Teleportation I Problem Set 7 Due
15 Teleportation II  
16 Quantum Cryptography Problem Set 8 Due; Midterm Exam
17 Quantization of the Electromagnetic Field  
18 Continuous-Time Photodetection I  
19 Continuous-Time Photodetection II  
20 Nonlinear Optics of X(2) Interactions I  
21 Nonlinear Optics of X(2) Interactions II  
22 Quantum Signatures from Parametric Interactions  
23 More Quantum Optical Applications Term paper Due

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2016
Learning Resource Types
Problem Sets with Solutions
Lecture Notes