Unveiling environmental entanglement in strongly dissipative qubits

Abstract

The coupling of a qubit to a macroscopic reservoir plays a fundamental role in understanding the complex transition from the quantum to the classical world. Considering a harmonic environment, we use both intuitive arguments and numerical many-body quantum tomography to study the structure of the complete wavefunction arising in the strong-coupling regime, reached for intense qubit-environment interaction. The resulting strongly-correlated many-body ground state is built from quantum superpositions of adiabatic (polaron-like) and non-adiabatic (antipolaron-like) contributions from the bath of quantum oscillators. The emerging Schrödinger cat environmental wavefunctions can be described quantitatively via simple variational coherent states. In contrast to qubit-environment entanglement, we show that non-classicality and entanglement among the modes in the reservoir are crucial for the stabilization of qubit superpositions in regimes where standard theories predict an effectively classical spin.

Department

Description

Provenance

Citation

Scholars@Duke

Baranger

Harold U. Baranger

Professor of Physics

The broad focus of Prof. Baranger's group is quantum open systems at the nanoscale, particularly the generation of correlation between particles in such systems. Fundamental interest in nanophysics-- the physics of small, nanometer scale, bits of solid-- stems from the ability to control and probe systems on length scales larger than atoms but small enough that the averaging inherent in bulk properties has not yet occurred. Using this ability, entirely unanticipated phenomena can be uncovered on the one hand, and the microscopic basis of bulk phenomena can be probed on the other. Additional interest comes from the many links between nanophysics and nanotechnology. Within this thematic area, our work ranges from projects trying to nail down realistic behavior in well-characterized systems, to more speculative projects reaching beyond regimes investigated experimentally to date.

Correlations between particles are a central issue in many areas of condensed matter physics, from emergent many-body phenomena in complex materials, to strong matter-light interactions in quantum information contexts, to transport properties of single molecules. Such correlations, for either electrons or bosons (photons, plasmons, phonons,…), underlie key phenomena in nanostructures. Using the exquisite control of nanostructures now possible, experimentalists will be able to engineer correlations in nanosystems in the near future. Of particular interest are cases in which one can tune the competition between different types of correlation, or in which correlation can be tunably enhanced or suppressed by other effects (such as confinement or interference), potentially causing a quantum phase transition-- a sudden, qualitative change in the correlations in the system.

My recent work has addressed correlations in both electronic systems (quantum wires and dots) and photonic systems (photon waveguides). We have focused on 3 different systems: (1) qubits coupled to a photonic waveguide, (2) quantum dots in a dissipative environment, and (3) interfaces between graphene and a superconductor, particularly when graphene is in the quantum Hall state. The methods used are both analytical and numerical, and are closely linked to experiments.


Unless otherwise indicated, scholarly articles published by Duke faculty members are made available here with a CC-BY-NC (Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial) license, as enabled by the Duke Open Access Policy. If you wish to use the materials in ways not already permitted under CC-BY-NC, please consult the copyright owner. Other materials are made available here through the author’s grant of a non-exclusive license to make their work openly accessible.