We present the solution to the problem of optimally discriminating among quantum states, i.e., identifying the states with maximum probability of success when a certain fixed rate of inconclusive answers is allowed. By varying the inconclusive rate, the scheme optimally interpolates between unambiguous and minimum error discrimination, the two standard approaches to quantum state discrimination. We introduce a very general method that enables us to obtain the solution in a wide range of cases and give a complete characterization of the minimum discrimination error as a function of the rate of inconclusive answers. A critical value of this rate is identified that coincides with the minimum failure probability in the cases where unambiguous discrimination is possible and provides a natural generalization of it when states cannot be unambiguously discriminated. The method is illustrated on two explicit examples: discrimination of two pure states with arbitrary prior probabilities and discrimination of trine states. © 2012 American Physical Society.
|Journal||Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics|
|Publication status||Published - 15 Oct 2012|