# The correct formulation of Gleason's theorem in quaternionic Hilbert spaces

March 18, 2018

From the viewpoint of the theory of orthomodular lattices of elementary propositions, Quantum Theories can be formulated in real, complex or quaternionic Hilbert spaces as established in Sol\'er's theorem. The said lattice eventually coincides with the lattice $\cL(\sH)$ of all orthogonal projectors on a separable Hilbert space $\sH$ over $\bR$, $\bC$, or over the algebra of quaternions $\bH$. Quantum states are $\sigma$-additive probability measures on that non-Boolean lattice. Gleason's theorem proves that, if the Hilbert space is separable with dimension $>2$ and $\sH$ is either real or complex, then states are one-to-one with standard density matrices (self-adjoint, positive, unit-trace, trace-class operators). The extension of this result to quaternionic Hilbert spaces was obtained by Varadarajan in 1968. Unfortunately, even if the hard part of the proof is correct, the formulation of this extension \cite{V2a} is mathematically incorrect. This is due to some peculiarities of the notion of trace in quaternionic Hilbert spaces, e.g., basis dependence, making the theory of trace-class operators in quaternionic Hilbert spaces different from the standard theory in real and complex Hilbert spaces. A minor issue also affects Varadarajan's statement for real Hilbert space formulation. This paper is mainly devoted to present Gleason-Varadarajan's theorem into a technically correct form valid for the three types of Hilbert spaces. After having developed part of the general mathematical technology of trace-class operators in (generally non-separable) quaternionic Hilbert spaces, we prove that only the {\em real part} of the trace enters the formalism of quantum theories (also dealing with unbounded observables and symmetries) and it can be safely used to formulate and prove a common statement of Gleason's theorem.

open access link
Annales Henri PoincarĂ© 19 (2018) 3321-3355
article file

@article{Moretti:2017mor,
author = "Moretti, Valter and Oppio, Marco",
title = "{Quantum theory in quaternionic Hilbert space: How
Poincar\'e symmetry reduces the theory to the standard
complex one}",
year = "2017",
doi = "10.1142/S0129055X19500132",
eprint = "1709.09246",
archivePrefix = "arXiv",
primaryClass = "math-ph",
SLACcitation = "%%CITATION = ARXIV:1709.09246;%%"
}

Keywords:

Gleason's theorem, spectral theory in quaternionic Hilbert spaces, trace class operators