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Sequential Modular Position and Momentum Measurements of a Trapped Ion Mechanical Oscillator

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Journal Article - Open Access

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ETH Zrich, Institute for Quantum Electronics Zurich Switzerland

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The noncommutativity of position and momentum observables is a hallmark feature of quantum physics. However, this incompatibility does not extend to observables that are periodic in these base variables. Such modular-variable observables have been suggested as tools for fault-tolerant quantum computing and enhanced quantum sensing. Here, we implement sequential measurements of modular variables in the oscillatory motion of a single trapped ion, using state-dependent displacements and a heralded nondestructive readout. We investigate the commutative nature of modular variable observables by demonstrating no-signaling in time between successive measurements, using a variety of input states. Employing a different periodicity, we observe signaling in time. This also requires wave-packet overlap, resulting in quantum interference that we enhance using squeezed input states. The sequential measurements allow us to extract two-time correlators for modular variables, which we use to violate a Leggett-Garg inequality. Signaling in time and Leggett-Garg inequalities serve as efficient quantum witnesses, which we probe here with a mechanical oscillator, a system that has a natural crossover from the quantum to the classical regime.

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  • Quantum Theory and Relativity

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