A pure-loss bosonic channel is a simple model for communication over free-space or fiber-optic links. More generally, phase-insensitive bosonic channels model other kinds of noise, such as thermalizing or amplifying processes. Recent work has established the classical capacity of all of these channels, and furthermore, it is now known that a strong converse theorem holds for the classical capacity of these channels under a particular photon-number constraint. The goal of the present paper is to initiate the study of second-order coding rates for these channels, by beginning with the simplest one, the pure-loss bosonic channel. In a second-order analysis of communication, one fixes the tolerable error probability and seeks to understand the back-off from capacity for a sufficiently large yet finite number of channel uses. We find a lower bound on the maximum achievable code size for the pure-loss bosonic channel, in terms of the known expression for its capacity and a quantity called channel dispersion. We accomplish this by proving a general “one-shot” coding theorem for channels with classical inputs and pure-state quantum outputs which reside in a separable Hilbert space. The theorem leads to an optimal second-order characterization when the channel output is finite-dimensional, and it remains an open question to determine whether the characterization is optimal for the pure-loss bosonic channel.
Quantum Information Processing – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 21, 2015
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