Journal of Modern Optics vol:49 issue:8 pages:1277-1287
The basic question that is addressed in this paper is finding the closest separable state for a given entangled state, measured with the Hilbert-Schmidt distance. While this problem is in general very difficult, we show that the following strongly related problem can be solved: find the Hilbert-Schmidt distance of an entangled state to the set of all partially transposed states. We prove that this latter distance can be expressed as a function of the negative eigenvalues of the partial transpose of the entangled state, and show how it is related to the distance of a state to the set of positive, partially transposed (PPT) states. We illustrate this by calculating the closest biseparable state to the W state and give a simple and very general proof for the fact that the set of W-type states is not of measure zero. Next we show that all surfaces with states whose partial transposes have constant minimal negative eigenvalue are similar to the boundary of PPT states. We illustrate this with some examples on bipartite qubit states, where contours of constant negativity are plotted on two-dimensional intersections of the complete state space.