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Limits on nonlocal correlations from the structure of the local state space

Peter Janotta‚ Christian Gogolin‚ Jonathan Barrett and Nicolas Brunner


The outcomes of measurements on entangled quantum systems can be nonlocally correlated. However, while it is easy to write down toy theories allowing arbitrary nonlocal correlations, those allowed in quantum mechanics are limited. Quantum correlations cannot, for example, violate a principle known as macroscopic locality, which implies that they cannot violate Tsirelson's bound. This paper shows that there is a connection between the strength of nonlocal correlations in a physical theory and the structure of the state spaces of individual systems. This is illustrated by a family of models in which local state spaces are regular polygons, where a natural analogue of a maximally entangled state of two systems exists. We characterize the nonlocal correlations obtainable from such states. The family allows us to study the transition between classical, quantum and super-quantum correlations by varying only the local state space. We show that the strength of nonlocal correlations-in particular whether the maximally entangled state violates Tsirelson's bound or not-depends crucially on a simple geometric property of the local state space, known as strong self-duality. This result is seen to be a special case of a general theorem, which states that a broad class of entangled states in probabilistic theories-including, by extension, all bipartite classical and quantum states-cannot violate macroscopic locality. Finally, our results show that models exist that are locally almost indistinguishable from quantum mechanics, but can nevertheless generate maximally nonlocal correlations. © IOP Publishing Ltd and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.

New Journal of Physics