A sharpening of the Welch bounds and the existence of real and complex spherical $t$--designs

Shayne Waldron


The Welch bounds for a finite set of unit vectors are a family of inequalities indexed by $t=1,2,\ldots$, which describe how ``evenly spread'' the vectors are. They have important applications in signal analysis, where sequences giving equality in the first Welch bound are known as WBE sequences or as unit norm tight frames. Here we consider sequences of vectors giving equality in the higher order Welch bounds. These are seen to correspond to tight frames for the complex symmetric $t$--tensors (which we prove always exist). We show that for $t>1$ the Welch bounds can be sharpened for real vectors, and again, vectors giving equality alway exist. We give a unified treatment of various conditions for equality in both the real and complex cases. In particular, we give an explicit description of the corresponding cubature rules ($t$--designs). Our results set up a framework for the construction and classification several configurations of vectors of recent interest. These include MUBs (mutually unbiased bases), SICs (complex equiangular lines), spherical half--designs, projective $t$--designs and minimisers of the higher order frame potential. One interesting consequence is a construction of sets of complex equiangular lines which were previously unknown.

Keywords: Welch bounds, WBE sequences (Welch bound equality sequences), finite tight frames, symmetric tensors, cubature rules for the sphere, spherical $t$--designs, projective $t$--designs, MUBs (mutually unbiased bases), SICs (symmetric informationally complete positive operator valued measures), complex equiangular lines

Math Review Classification: Primary 05B30, 42C15, 65D30, 94A12; Secondary 42C15, 42C40

Length: 19 pages

Last Updated: 14 September 2016