chapter  4
Quantum gates and quantum circuits
Pages 36

Except for the NOT gate, all the other familiar classical gates are irreversible in the sense that we cannot uniquely reconstruct the input states from the output states. For example, OR, AND, NAND, NOR, etc. are irreversible. They all map a two-bit input state into a single bit output state. Thus one bit is erased during operation of each of these gates, and according to Landauer’s principle that requires dissipation of a minimum amount of energy. Now a simple question arises in our curious mind: Is it possible to avoid this loss of energy? The answer is yes. If we don’t erase any bit then we can circumvent this energy loss. Thus we need to map n bit input states to n bit output states. In addition, if a one-toone correspondence exists between the input states and the output states then only we will be able to uniquely reconstruct the input states from the output states. In such a case the gate is called reversible. For example, if we have f(00) = 00, f(01) = 10, f(10) = 01, f(11) = 11 then f represents a reversible gate. Quantum evolution operators are unitary so for every operator U we have an inverse operator U−1 = U†. Therefore, quantum evolution operators are the natural choice for the construction of energy efficient reversible gates. However, it is not the only choice. We can have classical reversible gates, too. Usually by reversible gates we refer to classical reversible gates, and quantum gates are specifically referred to as quantum gates. Reversible gates and quantum gates are similar but there exists a fundamental difference that reversible gates cannot accept superposition states (e.g. α|0〉 + β|1〉) as input states, whereas quantum gates can. Thus all quantum gates are essentially reversible but the converse is not true.