Entanglement between Collective Operators in a Linear Harmonic Chain

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J Kofler, V Vedral, MS Kim, C Brukner

We investigate entanglement between collective operators of two blocks of oscillators in an infinite linear harmonic chain. These operators are defined as averages over local operators (individual oscillators) in the blocks. On the one hand, this approach of "physical blocks" meets realistic experimental conditions, where measurement apparatuses do not interact with single oscillators but rather with a whole bunch of them, i.e., where in contrast to usually studied "mathematical blocks" not every possible measurement is allowed. On the other, this formalism naturally allows the generalization to blocks which may consist of several non-contiguous regions. We quantify entanglement between the collective operators by a measure based on the Peres-Horodecki criterion and show how it can be extracted and transferred to two qubits. Entanglement between two blocks is found even in the case where none of the oscillators from one block is entangled with an oscillator from the other, showing genuine bipartite entanglement between collective operators. Allowing the blocks to consist of a periodic sequence of subblocks, we verify that entanglement scales at most with the total boundary region. We also apply the approach of collective operators to scalar quantum field theory.