Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2017

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



In quantum mechanics, the measurement outcome of an observable in a quantum system is intrinsically random, yielding a probability distribution. The state of the quantum system can be described by a density matrix (t), which depends on the information accumulated until time t, and represents our knowledge about the system. The density matrix (t) gives probabilities for the outcomes of measurements at time t. Further probing of the quantum system allows us to refine our prediction in hindsight. In this thesis, we experimentally examine a quantum smoothing theory in a superconducting qubit by introducing an auxiliary matrix E(t) which is conditioned on information obtained from time t to a final time T. With the complete information before and after time t, the pair of matrices [(t), E(t)] can be used to make smoothed predictions for the measurement outcome at time t. We apply the quantum smoothing theory in the case of continuous weak measurement unveiling the retrodicted quantum trajectories and weak values. In the case of strong projective measurement, while the density matrix (t) with only diagonal elements in a given basis |n> may be treated as a classical mixture, we demonstrate a failure of this classical mixture description in determining the smoothed probabilities for the measurement outcome at time t with both diagonal (t) and diagonal E(t). We study the correlations between quantum states and weak measurement signals and examine aspects of the time symmetry of continuous quantum measurement. We also extend our study of quantum smoothing theory to the case of resonance fluorescence of a superconducting qubit with homodyne measurement and observe some interesting effects such as the modification of the excited state probabilities, weak values, and evolution of the predicted and retrodicted trajectories.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Kater Murch

Committee Members

Kater Murch, Erik Henriksen, Henric Krawczynski, Alexander Seidel,


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