Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Emanuel Knill

Second Advisor

Sae Woo Nam

Third Advisor

Vanja Dukic

Fourth Advisor

Murray Holland

Fifth Advisor

Michael Hermele


Reliable and loophole-free demonstrations of the violation of local realism (LR) are highly desirable not only for understanding the foundation of quantum mechanics but also for facilitating quantum information processing, such as quantum key distribution and randomness expansion. To date, LR has been experimentally violated, but with loopholes, by testing predetermined Bell inequalities. This thesis presents a framework for verifying and quantifying the violation of LR without relying on a particular Bell inequality.

First, the experimental resources, such as the quantum state, measurement settings, detection effciency, and visibility required for a violation of LR, are studied via a measure called the statistical strength. The higher the statistical strength, the more confidence in a violation of LR one has after a suffciently large number of experimental data. Particularly, we study the minimum detection effciency required to achieve any given statistical strength level in tests of LR with entangled states created from two independent polarized photons passing through a polarizing beam splitter. It is shown that, compared with photon detectors, photon counters make violations of LR easier to detect for any nonzero probability of multiple photons in an output beam of the polarizing beam splitter.

Second, to quantify the statistical evidence against LR obtained from a finite number of experimental data, one can choose a test statistic, such as a Bell-inequality violation, to measure the amount of violation of LR. It is desirable to bound the probability, according to LR, of obtaining a test statistic at least as extreme as that observed. This probability is known as a p-value for the hypothesis test of LR. We propose a protocol to bound such a p-value. The bound provided is asymptotically tight, if the prepared quantum state and measurement settings are stable during an experiment. Therefore, the proposed protocol is asymptotically optimal, and the bound provided is a standardized measure of success for experimental tests of LR. One can quantitatively compare different experimental tests based on this bound. Moreover, the bound provided is valid even if the quantum state varies arbitrarily and local realistic models depend on previous measurement settings and outcomes. Hence, this bound facilitates device-independent and nonlocality-based quantum information processing. For comparison, bounds of p-values derived from Bell-inequality violations using the number of standard deviations of violation of a Bell inequality or using martingale theory are studied. It is found that putative bounds derived from the number of standard deviations of violation are not valid and bounds from martingale theory are not tight.

Finally, a simplified and effcient data analysis protocol using a set of Bell inequalities is proposed and compared with the above optimal and martingale-based protocols. The simplified protocol provides as good as and typically tighter p-value bounds than the martingale-based protocol, and the bounds provided can even be asymptotically tight. Moreover, the simplified protocol can be applied to any test with linear witnesses, such as tests for verifying entanglement, system dimensionality, or steering.