Experimental demonstration of negative-valued polarization quasiprobability distribution
AbstractPolarization quasiprobability distribution defined in the Stokes space shares many important properties with the Wigner function for position and momentum. Most notably, they both give correct one-dimensional marginal probability distributions and therefore represent the natural choice for the probability distributions in classical hidden-variable models. In this context, negativity of the Wigner function is considered as proof of nonclassicality for a quantum state. On the contrary, the polarization quasiprobability distribution demonstrates negativity for all quantum states. This feature comes from the discrete nature of Stokes variables; however, it was not observed in previous experiments, because they were performed with photon-number averaging detectors. Here we reconstruct the polarization quasiprobability distribution of a coherent state with photon-number resolving detectors, which allows us to directly observe for the first time its negativity. Furthermore we derive a theoretical polarization quasiprobability distribution for any linearly polarized quantum state.