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Pauli matrices: Classication and Joint higher rank numerical range

Hamid Reza Afshin

, Mohammad Ali Mehrjoofard

and Akbar Zare Chavoshi

December 4, 2013
Abstract. Pauli channel is a central class of quantum operations in quantum computing. For a noisy quantum
channel, a quantum error correcting code of dimension k exists if and only if the joint rank-k numerical range associated
with the error operators of the channel is non-empty. In the present paper, joint higher rank numerical range of three
Pauli matrices are completely characterized. Also, Pauli matrices using simultaneously unitary similarity are classied,
which may be used for charactrizing joint higher rank numerical range of more Pauli matrices. Besides, some more
results about joint numerical range of commuting Hermitian matrices and all possible Pauli matrices are drived and
joint higher rank numerical range of pairwise anticommuting Pauli matrices studied.
Key words Quantum error correction, Pauli channels, Joint higher rank numerical range, Joint numerical range,
Hermitian matrices, Pauli matrices.
AMS Subject Classication 15A60, 47A12, 47N50, 81P68.
1 Introduction
Quantum computation is a fast-growing and a multi-disciplinary research eld. If large-scale quan-
tum computers can be manufactured, they will be able to solve certain problems much faster than
any current classical ones. For example, Shors algorithm [22] can be used to break public-key
cryptography schemes such as the widely used RSA scheme. One of the biggest hurdles faced by
quantum computing researchers is called decoherence (i.e. the tendency of quantum systems
to be disturbed). There are several proposals to resolve this. Quantum error correction codes
(QECC) along with the celebrated Knill-Laamme (KL) conditions [11] totally form one of the
most promising candidates to suppress environmental noise, which leads to decoherence [7]. KL
conditions assert that given a quantum channel : M
n
M
n
with error operators {E
i
}
1i,jr
,
subspace V C
n
is a QECC of if and only if there exist scalars
ij
and orghogonal projection
operator P M
n
with the range space V such that PE

i
E
j
P =
ij
P.
KL conditions prompted the authors of refrences [3, 4, 5, 8] to introduce the notion of (joint)
higher rank numerical range of an (mtuple of) operator(s). For 1 k < n joint rank-k numerical
range of A
1
, . . . , A
m
M
n
is dened by

k
(A
1
, . . . , A
m
) = {(
1
, . . . ,
m
) : U M
k,n
, UU

= I
k
,
j
, UA
j
U

=
j
I
k
} .
In fact, there is a QECC of dimension k for quantum channel described above if and only if

k
(A
1
, . . . , A
m
) is non-empty for (A
1
, . . . , A
m
) = (E

1
E
1
, E

1
E
2
, . . . , E

r
E
r
) .

Department of Mathematics, Vali-e-Asr University of Rafsanjan, Rafsanjan, Iran (afshin@mail.vru.ac.ir;


hamidrezaafshin@yahoo.com)

Department of Mathematics, Vali-e-Asr University of Rafsanjan, Rafsanjan, Iran (aahaay@gmail.com)

Department of Mathematics, Malek Ashtar University of Technology, Iran.


1
When m = 1,
k
(A
1
, . . . , A
m
) reduces to the rank-k numerical range, which an explicit descrip-
tion of it is given in [19], namely:

k
(A) =

[0,2)
_
C : e
i
+e
i

k
_
e
i
A+e
i
A

__
. (1)
which in the case that A is normal, reduces to the following formula

k
(A) =

1j
1
<...<j
nk+1
n
conv
__

j
1
, . . . ,
j
nk+1
__
(2)
where conv (S) is the convex hull of the set S.
Also If k = 1,
k
(A
1
, . . . , A
m
) reduces to the joint numerical range W (A
1
, . . . , A
m
) .
There are many open problems for joint higher rank numerical range [12, 14], for example, for
three Hermitian matrices A, B, C M
n
, the study of
k
(A, B, C) is highly non-trivial. In the 9th
Workshop on Numerical Ranges and Numerical Radii, researchers presented some open problems
[12] about this set, showing their interest in characterizing it for Pauli matrices, which are matrices
in the form P
1
P
2
. . . P
m
where
m N, {P
1
, . . . , P
m
} {I, X, Y, Z} ,
and
I =
_
1 0
0 1
_
, X =
_
0 1
1 0
_
, Y =
_
0 i
i 0
_
, Z =
_
1 0
0 1
_
.
Li et.al. [15] recently studied emptiness of

k
_
n

i=1
X,
n

i=1
Y,
n

i=1
Z
_
.
But that problem is still open. The main purpose of the present paper is to classify Pauli matrices
and then determine joint higher rank numerical range of them, using straightforward arguments.
The organization of the current paper is as follows:
In section 2, we completely characterize
k
(P, Q, R) for any Pauli matrices P, Q, R M
n
.
Section 3 concerns classication of Pauli matrices via similarity. In Section 4, some additional
results about commuting Hermitian and anti-commuting Pauli matrices are surveyed.
Throughout our paper, the following notations will be xed:
Let n > 2 be a power of 2, and I
n
be Identity matrix of size n by n. Dene
I
1
= [1] , I = I
2
,
P
1
= {I
1
} ,
P
n
=
_
H M
n
: H

= H, (H) = {1, 1} , algebraic multiplicity of each eigenvalue ofH is


n
2
_
.
Also consider that P, Q P
n
, P = Q and dene
S
I
(P, Q) = {R P
n
: RP = PR, RQ = QR, R / {P, Q}} ,
S
Z
(P, Q) = {R P
n
: RP = PR, RQ = QR, R = P} ,
S
Y
(P, Q) = {R P
n
: RP = PR, RQ = QR} .
Now let
1
, . . . ,
m
C, we dene the following set
U

k
(A
1
,...,A
m
)
(
1
,...,
m
)
= {U M
k,n
: UU

= I
k
, j, UA
j
U

=
j
I
k
} .
Let x be a real number, dene
sgn(x) =
_
1 : x 0
1 : x < 0
2
2 Joint higher rank numerical range of three Pauli matrices
One of the famous examples about Pauli matrices that frequently appears in mathematical literature
[2, 6, 9, 10, 13, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21] is as follows:
Example 2.1 W (X, Y, Z) =
_
(a, b, c) R
3
: a
2
+b
2
+c
2
= 1
_
.
Au-Yeung and Poon [1] showed that when n > 2 and A
1
, A
2
, A
3
M
n
be Hermitian matrices
then W (A
1
, A
2
, A
3
) is a convex set, but, in general, we dont know that whether joint higher
rank numerical range of three or more Hermitian matrices is convex or not. It is interesting to
nd a generalization for formula (1), so a natural question arises that for Hermitian matrices
A
1
, . . . , A
m
M
n
and in the case that
k
(A
1
, . . . , A
m
) is a convex set, if the following formula is
true?!

k
(A
1
, . . . , A
m
) =
k
(A
1
, . . . , A
m
)
where

k
(A
1
, . . . , A
m
) =

b
1
,...,b
m
R
m

j=1
b
2
j
=1
_
_
_
(a
1
, . . . , a
m
) : a
1
, . . . , a
m
R,
m

j=1
b
j
a
j

k
_
_
m

j=1
b
j
A
j
_
_
_
_
_
where
k
(A) is kth largest eigenvalue of Hermitian matrix A.
Using an argument similar to that used in the proof of [19, Lemma 2.6], one may readily prove
left-to-right inclusion:
Theorem 2.2 Let A
1
, . . . , A
m
M
n
be Hermitian matrices and k n. Then

k
(A
1
, . . . , A
m
)
k
(A
1
, . . . , A
m
) . (3)
Now, let us present some basic results:
Proposition 2.3 Let n be a power of 2, and m, k be positive integers, k
_
n
2
+ 1, n

and P
1
, . . . , P
m

P
n
be Pauli matrices. Then,
k
(P
1
, . . . , P
m
) = .
Proof. (ad absurdum) Let (p
1
, . . . , p
m
)
k
(P
1
, . . . , P
m
) . In formula (3) consider
(b
1
, . . . , b
m
) = (sgn(p
1
) , 0, 0, . . . , 0)
so, it is obvious that
|p
1
|
k
(sgn(p
1
) P
1
) = 1,
which is a contradiction.
Proposition 2.4 Let m, n > 2 and k, r be positive integers and H
1
, H
2
, . . . , H
m
M
n
be Hermitian
matrices, then
(a)

r
(H
1
, H
2
, . . . , H
m
)
rk
(H
1
I
k
, H
2
I
k
, . . . , H
m
I
k
) .
(b)
W (H
1
, H
2
, . . . , H
m
)
k
(H
1
I
k
, H
2
I
k
, . . . , H
m
I
k
) conv (W (H
1
, H
2
, . . . , H
m
)) .
3
(c)

k
(H
1
I
k
, H
2
I
k
, H
3
I
k
) = W (H
1
, H
2
, H
3
).
Proof. (a) Let h
1
, h
2
, . . . , h
m
C and V M
n,r
be such that V

V = I
r
and for any j = 1, 2, . . . , m,
V

H
j
V = h
j
I
r
. Assume that U = V I
k
. So, U

U = I
kr
and for any j = 1, 2, . . . , m,
U

(H
j
I
k
) U = h
j
I
kr
.
(b) Without loss of generality, assume that k > 1.
First inclusion is a special case of (a). Also, Second inclusion is obvious because

k
(H
1
I
k
, H
2
I
k
, . . . , H
3
I
k
) W (H
1
I
k
, H
2
I
k
, . . . , H
m
I
k
)
= W
_
k

i=1
H
1
,
k

i=1
H
2
, . . . ,
k

i=1
H
m
_
= conv (W (H
1
, H
2
, . . . , H
m
)) .
Finally, notice that W (H
1
, H
2
, H
3
) is convex.
In the following proposition, we will nd joint higher rank numerical range of some special Pauli
matrices, and then, we will classify all possible triples of Pauli matrices and nally using these two
propositions, reach the goal of this section.
Proposition 2.5 (a) If P = Z I, Q = X I, R = Y Z, then

2
(P, Q, R) = W (P, Q, R) =
_
(x, y, z) : x, y, z R, x
2
+y
2
+z
2
1
_
.
(b) If P = Z I, Q = X I, R = Z Z, then
W (P, Q, R) =
_
(x, y, z) : x, y, z R, y
2
+ max
_
x
2
, z
2
_
1
_

2
(P, Q, R) = {(0, y, 0) : y [1, 1]} .
(c) If P = Z I, Q = X I, R = I Z, then
W (P, Q, R) =
_
(x, y, z) : x, y, z R, x
2
+y
2
1, z [1, 1]
_
,

2
(P, Q, R) = {(0, 0, 0)} .
(d) If P = Z I, Q = I Z, R = Z Z, then
W (P, Q, R) = {(x, y, z) : x, y, z [1, 1] , x +y +z [1, 1 + 2 min {x, y, z}]} ,

2
(P, Q, R) = .
(e) If P = Z I I, Q = I I Z, R = I Z I, then
W (P, Q, R) = {(x, y, z) : x, y, z R, max(|x| , |y| , |z|) 1} ,

2
(P, Q, R) = {(x, y, z) : x, y, z R, |x| +|y| +|z| 1} ,

3
(P, Q, R) =
4
(P, Q, R) = {(0, 0, 0)} .
Proof. (a) Notice that
W (P, Q, R) = conv (W (Z, X, Y ) W (Z, X, Y ))
But using Example 2.1 completes computations of this joint numerical range.
Now let a [1, 1] and , R. Direct computations show that
4
_

1 +a
2
I,

1 a
2
_
e
i
sin cos
cos e
i
sin
_
_
U

2
(P,Q,R)
(a,

1a
2
sin cos,

1a
2
sin sin)
and proof is completed
(b) Notice that
W (P, Q, R) = conv (W (Z, X, Z) W (Z, X, Z)) .
So, applying the following formula, W(P, Q, R) is charactrized:
W (X, Z) =
_
(x, z) : x, z R, x
2
+z
2
1
_
.
Now we prove left-to-right inclusion of the second equation.
Let (a, b, c)
2
(P, Q, R) , so, a, b, c [1, 1] and there exist matrices A, B M
2
such that
[A, B] U

2
(P,Q,R)
(a,b,c)
which is equivalent to the following system of equations:
AA

+BB

= I
2
AA

BB

= aI
2
BA

+AB

= bI
2
AZA

BZB

= cI
2
Therefore, there exist unitary matrices U
A
, U
B
M
2
such that
A =

1 +a
2
U
A
, B =

1 a
2
U
B
In addition, tr (AZA

BZB

) = 2c implies that c = 0. In this case


1 +a
2
U
A
ZU

A
= AZA

= BZB

=
1 a
2
U
B
ZU

B
and, hence, ((1 +a) Z) = ((1 a) Z) , which implies that a = 0.
For inverse inclusion let R and notice that

1
2
_
I, e
i
I
_
U

2
(P,Q,R)
(0,cos ,0)
.
(c) Similar to part (b) one may readily compute joint numerical range. Also, it appears that if
(a, b, c)
2
(P, Q, R) then a, b, c [1, 1] and there exist matrices A, B M
2
and unitary matrices
U
A
, U
B
M
2
such that
A =

1
2
U
A
, B =

1
2
U
B
,
BA

+AB

= bI
2
,
AZA

+BZB

= 0
22
.
Therefore, U

B
U
A
ZU

A
U
B
= Z and hence there exist , R such that
U

B
U
A
=
_
0 e
i
e
i
0
_
5
so, tr ((BA

) = tr (BA

) = tr (A

B) = 0 and hence b = 0.
Finally, notice that

1
2
[I, iX] U

2
(P,Q,R)
(0,0,0)
(d) First, notice that, similar to previous parts, one may readily achieve the following formula
W (P, Q, R) = conv ((1, 1, 1) , (1, 1, 1) , (1, 1, 1) , (1, 1, 1))
Now, let (a, b, c)
2
(P, Q, R) . Therefore, there exist A, B M
2
such that
_

_
AA

+BB

= I,
AA

BB

= aI,
AZA

+BZB

= bI,
AZA

BZB

= cI.
Let A =
_
A
1
A
2

, B =
_
B
1
B
2

, where A
1
, A
2
, B
1
, B
2
C
2
then
_

_
A
1
A

1
+A
2
A

2
=
1+a
2
I,
A
1
A

1
A
2
A

2
=
b+c
2
I,
B
1
B

1
+B
2
B

2
=
1a
2
I,
B
1
B

1
B
2
B

2
=
bc
2
I.
Therefore
_

_
A
1
A

1
=
1+a+b+c
4
I,
A
2
A

2
=
1+abc
4
I,
B
1
B

1
=
1a+bc
4
I,
B
2
B

2
=
1ab+c
4
I.
Now, notice that the rank of any of the above matrices is less than or equal to one, therefore
_
1 +a (b +c) = 0
1 a (b c) = 0
which is a contradiction.
(e) The rst equation is obvious. Regarding the second equation, consider arbitrary numbers
, , {0, 1} and
D = diag (3, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 3)
then, there exists permutation matrix E such that
(1)

P + (1)

Q+ (1)

R = EDE

.
Therefore
_
(1)

p + (1)

q + (1)

r : (p, q, r)
2
(P, Q, R)
_

2
(D)
Hence

2
(P, Q, R) {(p, q, r) : |p| +|q| +|r| 1} .
Now, for inverse inclusion, because any permutation of (P, Q, R) is simoltaneously permutationally
similar to (P, Q, R) , so without loss of generality it suces to prove that
S = {(p, q, r) : p, q, r R, |q| min {|p| , |r|} , |p| +|q| +|r| 1}
2
(P, Q, R) .
6
So, let (p, q, r) S. Four cases may occur. In each case it remains to obtain U

2
(P,Q,R)
(p,q,r)
= .
Case 1: If p 0 r,notice that

1
2
[
0

r q 0

1 + p + q r

1 + q 0 0

p q

q + r 0

1 + p q r 0 0

1 q

q p 0
]
U

2
(P,Q,R)
(p,q,r)
Case 2: If r 0 p,notice that

1
2
[
0

p q

1 + q 0 0

1 p + q + r 0

q r

p + q 0 0

1 q

1 p q + r 0

q r 0
]
U

2
(P,Q,R)
(p,q,r)
Case 3: If p, r 0 , notice that

1
2
[
0

1 + p + q + r 0

q r 0

p q

1 + q 0

1 + p q + r 0

q r 0

q p 0 0

1 q
]
U

2
(P,Q,R)
(p,q,r)
Case 4: If p, r 0 , notice that

1
2
[
1 + q 0 0

p q 0

r q 0

1 p + q r
0

1 q

p + q 0

q + r 0

1 p q r 0
]
U

2
(P,Q,R)
(p,q,r)
Now, let us prove the remained equations. Obviously, using (2)

3
(P, Q) =
3
(Q, R) = {(0, 0)}
Furthermore,

1
2
_
0 X I 0
X 0 0 I
_
U

4
(P,Q,R)
(0,0,0)
Therefore,
(0, 0, 0)
4
(P, Q, R)
3
(P, Q, R) {(0, 0, 0)}
which completes our proof.
Theorem 2.6 Let n be a positive integer and P, Q P
n
, P = Q.
(a) If PQ = QP, then, (P, Q) is simultaneously unitarily similar to
_
Z I
n
2
, X I
n
2
_
.
(b) Let PQ = QP, R S
I
(P, Q) . Then, n > 2 and (P, Q, R) is simultaneously unitarily similar
to
_
Z I
n
2
, X I
n
2
, I Z I
n
4
_
(c) Let PQ = QP, R S
Z
(P, Q) . Then, n > 2 and (P, Q, R) is simultaneously unitarily similar
to
_
Z I
n
2
, X I
n
2
, Z Z I
n
4
_
(d) Let PQ = QP, R S
Y
(P, Q) . Then, (P, Q, R) is simultaneously unitarily similar to
_
Z I
n
2
, X I
n
2
, Y Z I
n
4
_
or
_
Z I
n
2
, X I
n
2
, Y I
n
2
_
(e) Let P, Q P
n
be Pauli matrices such that PQ = QP, P = Q. Then, n > 2 and (P, Q) is
simultaneously unitarily similar to
_
Z I
n
2
, I Z I
n
4
_
.
7
(f ) Let P
1
, P
2
, P
3
P
n
be Pauli matrices such that P
1
P
2
P
3
= I
n
and for any i, j {1, 2, 3} ,
P
i
P
j
= P
j
P
i
, P
i
/ {P
1
, P
2
, P
3
} \ {P
i
} ,
then, n > 2 and (P
1
, P
2
, P
3
) is simultaneously unitarily similar to
_
Z I
n
2
, I Z I
n
4
, Z Z I
n
4
_
.
(g) Let P
1
, P
2
, P
3
P
n
be Pauli matrices such that P
1
P
2
P
3
= I
n
and for any i, j {1, 2, 3} ,
P
i
P
j
= P
j
P
i
, P
i
/ {P
1
, P
2
, P
3
} \ {P
i
} ,
then, n > 4 and (P
1
, P
2
, P
3
) is simultaneously unitarily similar to
_
Z I
n
2
, I I Z I
n
8
, I Z I
n
4
_
.
Proof. (a) Let U M
n
be a unitary matrix such that
UPU

=
_
I
n
2
0
0 I
n
2
_
, UQU

=
_
Q
1
Q
3
Q

3
Q
2
_
.
So, the relation PQ = QP implies that Q
1
= Q
2
= 0. Now, consider unitary matrices
V, W M
n
2
which are used in the singular value decomposition V Q
3
W = I
n
2
. Furthermore, consider
the following unitary matrices
B =
_
V 0
0 W

_
, T = BU
Direct computations shows that
TQT

=
_
0 I
n
2
I
n
2
0
_
So, using unitary matrix T , simultaneously unitary similarity was achieved.
In order to prove (b),(c) and (d), let C {I, Y, Z} . Using part (a) one must nd unitary matrix
U M
n
such that
UPU

=
_
I
n
2
0
0 I
n
2
_
, UQU

=
_
0 I
n
2
I
n
2
0
_
, UR
C
U

=
_
R
C1
R
C2
R

C2
R
C3
_
where R
C
S
C
(P, Q) and for any i, R
Ci
M
n
2
. Therefore, relations R
I
P = PR
I
, R
Z
P = PR
Z
,
implies that R
I2
= R
Z2
= 0. Also, R
Y 1
= R
Y 3
= 0 is deducible from the relation R
Y
P = PR
Y
.
Finally, using relations
R
I
Q = QR
I
, R
Z
Q = QR
Z
, R
Y
Q = QR
Y
Illustrates that
UR
C
U

= C H
C
where H
I
, H
Z
P
n
2
, H
Y
P
n
2

_
I
n
2
_
.
Now, let V
I
, V
Z
, V
Y
M
n
2
be unitary matrices such that
V
I
H
I
V

I
= V
Z
H
Z
V

Z
= Z I
n
4
, V
Y
H
Y
V

Y

_
Z I
n
4
, I
n
2
_
.
8
Finally, using unitary matrices U
C
= (I V
C
) U, one can complete the proof.
(e) Consider R P
n
be Pauli matrix such that PR = RP. Using (b) and (c), (P, R, Q) is
simultaneously unitarily similar to
_
Z I
n
2
, X I
n
2
, I Z I
n
4
_
or
_
Z I
n
2
, X I
n
2
, Z Z I
n
4
_
.
Therefore, (P, Q) is simultaneously unitarily similar to
_
Z I
n
2
, I Z I
n
4
_
or
_
Z I
n
2
, Z Z I
n
4
_
But, using the following unitary matrix, you are able to show that the recent pairs are simultaneously
unitarily similar:
U =
_
I 0
0 X
_
I
n
4
.
(f,g) Consider Q P
n
2
be Pauli matrix such that P
1
Q = QP
1
. Using proof of parts (b) and (c)
one can nd the unitary matrix U M
n
such that (P
1
, Q, P
2
, P
3
) is simultaneously unitarily similar
to
_
Z I
n
2
, X I
n
2
, C
2
H
2
, C
3
H
3
_
where C
2
, C
3
{I, Z} , H
2
, H
3
P
n
2
.
Now, if n = 4 -without loss of generality- it is possible to assume that H
2
, H
3
{I, Z} ; hence
(P
1
, P
2
, P
3
) is simultaneously unitarily similar to
(Z I, Z Z, I Z) or (Z I, I Z, Z Z)
But, if n > 4 using (e), (H
2
, H
3
) is simultaneously unitarily similar to
_
Z I
n
4
, I Z I
n
8
_
or
_
Z I
n
4
, Z I
n
4
_
.
Hence, (P
1
, P
2
, P
3
) is simultaneously unitarily similar to
S
B
2
,B
3
=
_
Z I
n
2
, B
2
Z I
n
4
, B
3
Z I
n
4
_
or T
C
2
,C
3
=
_
Z I
n
2
, C
2
Z I
n
4
, C
3
I Z I
n
8
_
where B
2
, B
3
, C
2
, C
3
{I, Z} , B
2
= B
3
.
Now, due to the existence of some similarity, it suces to consider B
2
= C
2
= I. Besides, it is
clear that T
I,Z
is simultaneously unitarily similar to
_
Z I
n
2
, I I Z I
n
8
, Z Z I
n
4
_
,
which is similar to
_
Z I
n
2
, I I Z I
n
8
, I Z I
n
4
_
.
Hence, it is similar to T
I,I
.

Theorem 2.7 Let n > 2 and k


n
2
be positive integers and P, Q P
n
be Pauli matrices such that
P = Q.
9
(a) If PQ = QP. Then

k
(P, Q) =
_
(x, z) : x, z R, x
2
+z
2
1
_
.
(b) Let PQ = QP, R S
I
(P, Q) . If k
n
4
, then

k
(P, Q, R) =
_
(x, y, z) : x, y, z R, x
2
+y
2
1, z [1, 1]
_
.
Otherwise

k
(P, Q, R) = {(0, 0, 0)} .
(c) Let PQ = QP, R S
Z
(P, Q) . If k
n
4
, then

k
(P, Q, R) =
_
(x, y, z) : x, y, z R, y
2
+ max
_
x
2
, z
2
_
1
_
.
Otherwise

k
(P, Q, R) = {(0, y, 0) : y [1, 1]} .
(d) Let PQ = QP, R S
Y
(P, Q) . Then

k
(P, Q, R) =
_
(x, y, z) : x, y, z R, x
2
+y
2
+z
2
1
_
.
(e) Let P, Q P
n
be Pauli matrices and PQ = QP. If k
n
4
, then

k
(P, Q) = {(x, y) : x, y R, max(|x| , |y|) 1} .
Otherwise

k
(P, Q) = {(0, 0)} .
(f ) Let P
1
, P
2
, P
3
P
n
be Pauli matrices such that P
1
P
2
P
3
= I
n
and for any i, j {1, 2, 3} ,
P
i
P
j
= P
j
P
i
, P
i
/ {P
1
, P
2
, P
3
} \ {P
i
} .
If k
n
4
, then

k
(P
1
, P
2
, P
3
) = {(x, y, z) : x, y, z [1, 1] , x +y +z [1, 1 + 2 min {x, y, z}]} .
Otherwise

k
(P
1
, P
2
, P
3
) = .
(g) Let P
1
, P
2
, P
3
P
n
be Pauli matrices such that P
1
P
2
P
3
= I
n
and for any i, j {1, 2, 3} ,
P
i
P
j
= P
j
P
i
, P
i
/ {P
1
, P
2
, P
3
} \ {P
i
} .
If k
n
8
, then

k
(P
1
, P
2
, P
3
) = {(x, y, z) : x, y, z R, max(|x| , |y| , |z|) 1} .
If k
_
n
8
+ 1,
n
4

, then

k
(P
1
, P
2
, P
3
) = {(x, y, z) : x, y, z R, |x| +|y| +|z| 1} .
Otherwise

k
(P
1
, P
2
, P
3
) = {(0, 0, 0)} .
10
Proof. (a) and (e) are natural conclusions of (1) and (2), respectively.
In all remained parts, the rst equation is obviously deduced from Proposition 2.4(c) and the suitable
part of Proposition 2.5, so we will concentrate on proving the remained formulae.
(b) Notice that according to Proposition 2.4(a) and Proposition 2.5(c) we will have
{(0, 0, 0)}
n
2
(P, Q, R) .
Hence, the right-to-left inclusion is obtained.
Therefore, left-to-right inclusion is to be proved. It suces to show that

n
4
+1
(P, Q, R) {(0, 0, 0)} .
Using Theorem 2.2 we have
n
4
+1
(P, Q, R) = n
4
+1
(
n
4

i=1
[
Z 0
0 Z
]
,
n
4

i=1
[
X 0
0 X
]
,
n
4

i=1
[
I 0
0 I
]
)
S =

a,b,cR
a
2
+b
2
+c
2
=1
{
(x, y, z) : x, y, z R, ax + by + cz n
4
+1
(
n
4

i=1
[
aZ + bX + cI 0
0 aZ + bX cI
]
)}
.
But

__
aZ +bX +cI 0
0 aZ +bX cI
__
=
_
c

a
2
+b
2
, c

a
2
+b
2
_
.
Hence

n
4
+1
_
n
4

i=1
_
aZ +bX +cI 0
0 aZ +bX cI
_
_
=
2
__
aZ +bX +cI 0
0 aZ +bX cI
__
=

|c|

1 c
2

.
If (0, 0, z) S, then using (a, b, c) =
_
1
2
,
1
2
,
sgn(z)

2
_
one can deduce that z = 0. So, assume that
(x, y, z) S, (x, y) = (0, 0) and consider
(a, b, c) =
_
x

2 (x
2
+y
2
)
,
y

2 (x
2
+y
2
)
,
sgn (z)

2
_
.
Therefore
x
2
+y
2

2 (x
2
+y
2
)
+
|z|

2
0,
which implies that (x, y, z) = (0, 0, 0) .
(c) Notice that from Proposition 2.4(a) and Proposition 2.5(b) we have
{(0, y, 0) : y [1, 1]}
n
2
(P, Q, R) .
Hence, right-to-left inclusion is obtained.
So, we prove left-to-right inclusion. It suces to show that

n
4
+1
(P, Q, R) {(0, y, 0) : y [1, 1]} .
11
Using Theorem 2.2 we have
n
4
+1
(P, Q, R) = n
4
+1
(
n
4

i=1
[
Z 0
0 Z
]
,
n
4

i=1
[
X 0
0 X
]
,
n
4

i=1
[
Z 0
0 Z
]
)
S =

a,b,cR
a
2
+b
2
+c
2
=1
{
(x, y, z) : x, y, z R, ax + by + cz n
4
+1
(
n
4

i=1
[
(a + c) Z + bX 0
0 (a c) Z + bX
]
)}
.
But

__
(a +c) Z +bX 0
0 (a c) Z +bX
__
=
_

(a +c)
2
+b
2
,

(a c)
2
+b
2
_
.
Hence

n
4
+1
_
n
4

i=1
_
(a +c) Z +bX 0
0 (a c) Z +bX
_
_
=
2
__
(a +c) Z +bX 0
0 (a c) Z +bX
__
=

(|a| |c|)
2
+b
2
If (x, y, z) S, then using (a, b, c) =
_
sgn(x)

2
, 0,
sgn(z)

2
_
it can be implied that x = z = 0. Finally,
using (a, b, c) = (0, sgn(y) , 0) one can deduce that y [1, 1] .
(f ) Without loss of generality, assume that
(P
1
, P
2
, P
3
) =
_
Z I
n
2
, I Z I
n
4
, Z Z I
n
4
_
.
Using (e),

n
4
+1
(P
1
, P
2
, P
3
) {(0, 0, 0)} .
So, assume that
(0, 0, 0)
n
4
+1
_
Z I
n
2
, I Z I
n
4
, Z Z I
n
4
_
.
Now according to Theorem 2.2, for any real numbers a, b, c,
0
n
4
+1
_
(a +b +c) I
n
4
(a b c) I
n
4
(a +b c) I
n
4
(a b +c) I
n
4
_
,
which is not true for a = b = c = 1 as a contradiction.
(g) Without loss of generality assume that
(P
1
, P
2
, P
3
) =
_
Z I
n
2
, I I Z I
n
8
, I Z I
n
4
_
.
First, let k
_
n
8
+ 1,
n
4

. Using Proposition 2.4(a), well readily have


{(p, q, r) : p, q, r R, |p| +|q| +|r| 1}
n
4
(P
1
, P
2
, P
3
) .
Let , , {0, 1} and D = diag (3, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 3) . Then
_
(1)

p + (1)

q + (1)

r : (p, q, r)
n
8
+1
(P
1
, P
2
, P
3
)
_

n
8
+1
_
D I
n
8
_
.
Hence

n
8
+1
(P
1
, P
2
, P
3
) {(p, q, r) : p, q, r R, |p| +|q| +|r| 1} .
Now let k
_
n
4
+ 1,
n
2

. One can readily prove the formula of this case by using (e) and Proposition
2.4(a).
12
3 Classication of Pauli matrices
Using arguments similar to those used in the proof of Theorem 2.6, one can readily nd a recursive
formula which extends that result.
Theorem 3.1 Let m, n 2 be positive integers and P
1
, . . . , P
m
P
n
be such that for any i,
P
i
/ {P
1
, . . . , P
n
} \ {P
i
} .
(a) If P
1
P
2
= P
2
P
1
. Then (P
1
, P
2
, P
3
, . . . , P
m
) is simultaneously unitarily similar to
_
Z I
n
2
, X I
n
2
, C
3
H
3
, C
4
H
4
, . . . , C
m
H
m
_
where
H
3
, . . . , H
m
P
n
2

_
I
n
2
_
and C
3
, . . . , C
m
{I, Y, Z} be such that for any i 3, P
i
S
C
i
(P
1
, P
2
) .
(b) If for any i, j, P
i
P
j
= P
j
P
i
. Then (P
1
, P
2
, P
3
, . . . , P
m
) is simultaneously unitarily similar to
_
Z I
n
2
, C
2
H
2
, C
3
H
3
, . . . , C
m
H
m
_
where H
2
, . . . , H
m
P
n
2
are pairwise commuting and C
2
, . . . , C
m
{I, Z} .
Corollary 3.2 Let n 2 be positive integer and P
1
, P
2
, P
3
, P
4
P
n
be such that for any i, P
i
/
{P
1
, P
2
, P
3
, P
4
} \ {P
i
} . Then,
(a) If P
1
P
2
= P
2
P
1
and P
3
, P
4
S
I
(P
1
, P
2
) , then (P
1
, P
2
, P
3
, P
4
) is simultaneously unitarily
similar to
_
Z I
n
2
, X I
n
2
, I Z I
n
4
, I X I
n
4
_
, or
_
Z I
n
2
, X I
n
2
, I Z I
n
4
, I I Z I
n
8
_
.
(b) If P
1
P
2
= P
2
P
1
and P
3
, P
4
S
Y
(P
1
, P
2
) , then (P
1
, P
2
, P
3
, P
4
) is simultaneously unitarily
similar to
_
Z I
n
2
, X I
n
2
, Y Z I
n
4
, Y X I
n
4
_
, or
_
Z I
n
2
, X I
n
2
, Y I
n
2
, Y Z I
n
4
_
, or
_
Z I
n
2
, X I
n
2
, Y Z I
n
4
, Y I Z I
n
8
_
.
(c) If P
1
P
2
= P
2
P
1
and P
3
, P
4
S
Z
(P
1
, P
2
) , then (P
1
, P
2
, P
3
, P
4
) is simultaneously unitarily
similar to
_
Z I
n
2
, X I
n
2
, Z Z I
n
4
, Z X I
n
4
_
, or
_
Z I
n
2
, X I
n
2
, Z Z I
n
4
, Z I Z I
n
8
_
.
(d) If P
1
P
2
= P
2
P
1
and P
3
S
I
(P
1
, P
2
) , P
4
S
Y
(P
1
, P
2
) , then (P
1
, P
2
, P
3
, P
4
) is simultane-
ously unitarily similar to
_
Z I
n
2
, X I
n
2
, I Z I
n
4
, Y X I
n
4
_
, or
_
Z I
n
2
, X I
n
2
, I Z I
n
4
, Y I
n
2
_
, or
_
Z I
n
2
, X I
n
2
, I Z I
n
4
, Y Z I
n
4
_
, or
_
Z I
n
2
, X I
n
2
, I Z I
n
4
, Y I Z I
n
8
_
.
13
(e) If P
1
P
2
= P
2
P
1
and P
3
S
I
(P
1
, P
2
) , P
4
S
Z
(P
1
, P
2
) , then (P
1
, P
2
, P
3
, P
4
) is simultane-
ously unitarily similar to
_
Z I
n
2
, X I
n
2
, I Z I
n
4
, Z X I
n
4
_
, or
_
Z I
n
2
, X I
n
2
, I Z I
n
4
, Z Z I
n
4
_
, or
_
Z I
n
2
, X I
n
2
, I Z I
n
4
, Z I Z I
n
8
_
.
(f ) If P
1
P
2
= P
2
P
1
and P
3
S
Y
(P
1
, P
2
) , P
4
S
Z
(P
1
, P
2
) , then (P
1
, P
2
, P
3
, P
4
) is simultane-
ously unitarily similar to
_
Z I
n
2
, X I
n
2
, Y I
n
2
, Z Z I
n
4
_
, or
_
Z I
n
2
, X I
n
2
, Y Z I
n
4
, Z Z I
n
4
_
, or
_
Z I
n
2
, X I
n
2
, Y Z I
n
4
, Z X I
n
4
_
, or
_
Z I
n
2
, X I
n
2
, Y Z I
n
4
, Z I Z I
n
8
_
.
(g) If for any i, j, P
i
P
j
= P
j
P
i
. Then (P
1
, P
2
, P
3
, P
4
) is simultaneously unitarily similar to
_
Z I
n
2
, C
2
Z I
n
4
, C
3
I Z I
n
8
, C
4
Z Z I
n
8
_
, or
_
Z I
n
2
, D
2
Z I
n
4
, D
3
I I Z I
n
16
, D
4
I Z I
n
8
_
, or
_
Z I
n
2
, Z Z I
n
4
, I Z I
n
4
, E I Z I
n
8
_
where C
2
, C
3
, C
4
, D
2
, D
3
, D
4
, E {I, Z} .
4 Additional results
Theorem 4.1 Let A
1
, . . . , A
m
M
n
be simultaneously unitarily diagonalizable and k n. Then,
W (A
1
, . . . , A
m
) =
1
(A
1
, . . . , A
m
)
Proof. By Theorem 2.2, it suces to show that
W (A
1
, . . . , A
m
)
1
(A
1
, . . . , A
m
) .
There exists [a
ek
] M
m,n
(R) and the unitary matrix U M
n
such that
U

A
j
U = diag (a
j1
, . . . , a
jn
) , j = 1, . . . , m.
Assume that
(b
1
, . . . , b
m
) / W (A
1
, . . . , A
m
) = conv ((a
1k
, a
2k
, . . . , a
mk
) : k {1, . . . , n}) ,
then
0 / S = conv ((a
1k
b
1
, a
2k
b
2
, . . . , a
mk
b
m
) : k {1, . . . , n})
and based on Hahn-Banach Theorem, there exists a separating hyperplane for 0 and S; that is, there
is a vector c = (c
1
, . . . , c
m
)
T
R
m
such that c
T
s < 0 for all s S, which leads to the conclusion
max {c
1
(a
1k
b
1
) +c
2
(a
2k
b
2
) +. . . +c
m
(a
mk
b
m
) : k {1, . . . , n}} < 0.
Thus, the proof is completed.
14
Theorem 4.2 Let {P
j
}
m
j=1
be a collection of n n Pauli matrices such that for any i = j, P
i
P
j
=
P
j
P
i
. Then,
W (P
1
, . . . , P
m
)
_
_
_
(x
1
, . . . , x
m
) : x
1
, . . . , x
m
R,
m

j=1
x
2
j
1
_
_
_
.
Proof. Let (q
1
, . . . , q
m
) be an arbitrary nonzero element of W (P
1
, . . . , P
m
) . Dene
_

_
a
j
=
q
j

j=1
q
2
j
, j
A
a
1
,...,a
m
=
m

j=1
a
j
P
j
Direct computation shows that A
2
a
1
,...,a
m
= I. But, at most, one element of {P
1
, . . . , P
m
} may
be found such that its diagonal entries are nonzero, which (if it exists) does not belong to the set
{I, I} ; therefore, A
a
1
,...,a
m
/ {I, I} . Hence, minimal polynomial of A
a
1
,...,a
m
is p
A
(x) = x
2
1.
Therefore
(A
a
1
,...,a
m
) = {1} .
Furthermore, by Theorem 2.2,
W (P
1
, . . . , P
m
)
_
_
_
(x
1
, . . . , x
m
) : x
1
, . . . , x
m
R,
m

j=1
a
j
x
j
1
_
_
_
.
Therefore, on the basis of Theorem 4.1,
m

j=1
a
j
q
j
1.
Let n N and F = (P
1
, P
2
, . . . , P
4
n) be a 4
n
tuple consist of all 2
n
2
n
Pauli matrices. The
following theorem shows that joint numerical range of F lies in the boundary of a 4
n
dimensional
sphere:
Theorem 4.3
W (F)
_
_
_
(b
1
, b
2
, . . . , b
4
n) : j, b
j
R,
4
n

j=1
b
2
j
= 2
n
_
_
_
(4)
Proof. Assume that (b
1
, . . . , b
4
n) W (F) and for any k {1, . . . , 4
n
}, P
k
= [
k
a
ij
] . Therefore,
there exist u
1
, . . . , u
2
n C such that for any k {1, . . . , 4
n
} ,
2
n

i,j=1
u
i
(
k
a
ij
) u
j
= b
k
.
Hence,
4
n

k=1
b
2
k
=
4
n

k=1
_
2
n

i,j=1
_
2
n

e,f=1
u
i
(
k
a
ij
) u
j
u
e
(
k
a
ef
) u
f
__
=
2
n

i,j=1
_
2
n

e,f=1
_
u
i
u
j
u
e
u
f
4
n

k=1
(
k
a
ij
) (
k
a
ef
)
_
_
15
But, by induction well have
4
n

k=1
(
k
a
ij
) (
k
a
ef
) =
_
2
n
: (i, j) = (f, e)
0 : elsewhere
Therefore
4
n

k=1
b
2
k
=
2
n

i,j=1
_
_
2
n

i,j=1
(2
n
u
i
u
j
u
j
u
i
)
_
_
= 2
n
_
_
2
n

i,j=1
|u
i
|
2
|u
j
|
2
_
_
= 2
n
_
2
n

i=1
|u
i
|
2
_
2
= 2
n
.

Although Example 2.1 showed that when n = 1, equality holds in (4), but in the following example
it is demonstrated that this is not generally true.
Example 4.4 Let
x = (x
i
)
16
i=1
=
_
_
_
_
0, 0, 0, 0,
0, 0, 0, 0,
1, 0, 0, 0,

3, 0, 0, 0
_
_
_
_
and
F = (P
i
)
16
i=1
=
_
_
_
_
I X, I Y, Z X, Z Y,
X I, X Z, Y I, Y Z,
I I, I Z, Z I, Z Z,
X X, X Y, Y X, Y Y
_
_
_
_
.
Assume that u = [a, b, c, d]
T
be a complex unit vector such that for each j, x
j
= u

P
j
u. Be-
cause {I X, I Y, Z X, Z Y } and {X I, X Z, Y I, Y Z} are sets with linearly in-
dependent elements, it appears that ab = cd = 0 and ac = bd = 0, abstractly meaning that
(0, 0) {(a, d) , (b, c)} , which contradicts with
(

3, 0, 0, 0) W (X X, X Y, Y X, Y Y ) .
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