Publications from 2014

Collective Modes of a Trapped Ion-Dipole System.

J. Mur-Petit, J. J. García-Ripoll.
We study a simple model consisting of an atomic ion and a polar molecule trapped in a single setup, taking into consideration their electrostatic interaction. We determine analytically their collective modes of excitation as a function of their masses, trapping frequencies, distance, and the molecule’s electric dipole moment. We then discuss the application of these collective excitations to cool molecules, to entangle molecules and ions, and to realize two-qubit gates between them. We finally present a numerical analysis of the possibility of applying these tools to study magnetically ordered phases of two-dimensional arrays of polar molecules, a setup proposed to quantum-simulate some strongly correlated models of condensed matter.

Continuous Matrix Product States for Coupled Fields: Application to Luttinger Liquids and Quantum Simulators.

F. Quijandría, J. J. García-Ripoll, D. Zueco.
A way of constructing continuous matrix product states (cMPS) for coupled fields is presented here. The cMPS is a variational \emph{ansatz} for the ground state of quantum field theories in one dimension. Our proposed scheme is based in the physical interpretation in which the cMPS class can be produced by means of a dissipative dynamic of a system interacting with a bath. We study the case of coupled bosonic fields. We test the method with previous DMRG results in coupled Lieb Liniger models. Besides, we discuss a novel application for characterizing the Luttinger liquid theory emerging in the low energy regime of these theories. Finally, we propose a circuit QED architecture as a quantum simulator for coupled fields.

Detection of Chern Numbers and Entanglement in Topological Multi-Component Systems through Subsystem Winding Numbers.

J. de Lisle, S. De, E. Alba, A. Bullivant, J. J. García-Ripoll, V. Lahtinen, J. K. Pachos.
Topological invariants, such as the Chern number, characterise topological phases of matter. Here we provide a method to detect Chern numbers in systems with multiple components, such as spins, orbitals or several atomic states. We analytically show that the Chern number can be decomposed as a sum of component specific winding numbers, which are themselves physically observable. We apply this method to two systems, the quantum spin Hall insulator and a staggered topological superconductor, and show that (spin) Chern numbers are accurately reproduced. The measurements required for constructing the component winding numbers also enable us to probe the entanglement spectrum with respect to component partitions. Our method is particularly suited to experiments with cold atoms in optical lattices where time-of-flight images can give direct access to the relevant observables.

Emergence of Coherence and the Dynamics of Quantum Phase Transitions.

S. Braun, M. Friesdorf, S.S. Hodgman, M. Schreiber, J.P. Ronzheimer, A. Riera, M. del Rey, I. Bloch, J. Eisert, U. Schneider.
The dynamics of quantum phase transitions poses one of the most challenging problems in modern many-body physics. Here, we study a prototypical example in a clean and well-controlled ultracold atom setup by observing the emergence of coherence when crossing the Mott insulator to superfluid quantum phase transition. In the one-dimensional Bose-Hubbard model, we find perfect agreement between experimental observations and numerical simulations for the resulting coherence length. We thereby perform a largely certified analogue quantum simulation of this strongly correlated system reaching beyond the regime of free quasiparticles. Experimentally, we additionally explore the emergence of coherence in higher dimensions where no classical simulations are available, as well as for negative temperatures. For intermediate quench velocities, we observe a power-law behaviour of the coherence length, reminiscent of the Kibble-Zurek mechanism. However, we find exponents that strongly depend on the final interaction strength and thus lie outside the scope of this mechanism.

Entanglement Detection in Coupled Particle Plasmons.

J. del Pino, J. Feist, F. J. García-Vidal, J. J. García-Ripoll.
When in close contact, plasmonic resonances interact and become strongly correlated. In this work we develop a quantum mechanical model, using the language of continuous variables and quantum information, for an array of coupled particle plasmons. This model predicts that when the coupling strength between plasmons approaches or surpasses the local dissipation, a sizable amount of entanglement is stored in the collective modes of the array. We also prove that entanglement manifests itself in far-field images of the plasmonic modes, through the statistics of the quadratures of the field, in what constitutes a novel family of entanglement witnesses. This protocol is so robust that it is indeed independent of whether our own model is correct. Finally, we estimate the amount of entanglement, the coupling strength and the correlation properties for a system that consists of two or more coupled nanospheres of silver, showing evidence that our predictions could be tested using present-day state-of-the-art technology.

Hybrid Quantum Magnetism in Circuit QED: From Spin-Photon Waves to Many-Body Spectroscopy.

A. Kurcz, A. Bermúdez, J. J. García-Ripoll.
We introduce a model of quantum magnetism induced by the nonperturbative exchange of microwave photons between distant superconducting qubits. By interconnecting qubits and cavities, we obtain a spin-boson lattice model that exhibits a quantum phase transition where both qubits and cavities spontaneously polarize. We present a many-body ansatz that captures this phenomenon all the way, from a the perturbative dispersive regime where photons can be traced out, to the nonperturbative ultrastrong coupling regime where photons must be treated on the same footing as qubits. Our ansatz also reproduces the low-energy excitations, which are described by hybridized spin-photon quasiparticles, and can be probed spectroscopically from transmission experiments in circuit QED, as shown by simulating a possible experiment by matrix-product-state methods.

Lattice Scars: Surviving in an Open Discrete Billiard.

V. Fernández-Hurtado, J. Mur-Petit, J. J. García-Ripoll, R. A. Molina.
We study quantum systems on a discrete bounded lattice (lattice billiards). The statistical properties of their spectra show universal features related to the regular or chaotic character of their classical continuum counterparts. However, the decay dynamics of the open systems appear very different from the continuum case, their properties being dominated by the states in the band center. We identify a class of states (‘lattice scars’) that survive for infinite times in dissipative systems and that are degenerate at the center of the band. We provide analytical arguments for their existence in any bipartite lattice, and give a formula to determine their number. These states should be relevant to quantum transport in discrete systems, and we discuss how to observe them using photonic waveguides, cold atoms in optical lattices, and quantum circuits.

Local Quanta, Unitary Equivalence, and Vacuum Entanglement.

M. Rodríguez-Vázquez, M. del Rey, H. Westman, J. León.
In this work we develop a formalism for describing localised quanta for a real-valued Klein-Gordon field in a one-dimensional box [0,R]. We quantise the field using non-stationary local modes which, at some arbitrarily chosen initial time, are completely localised within the left or the right side of the box. In this concrete set-up we directly face the problems inherent to a notion of local field excitations, usually thought of as elementary particles. Specifically, by computing the Bogoliubov coefficients relating local and standard (global) quantizations, we show that the local quantisation yields a Fock space 𝔉L which is unitarily inequivalent to the standard one 𝔉G. In spite of this, we find that the local creators and annihilators remain well defined in the global Fock space 𝔉G, and so do the local number operators associated to the left and right partitions of the box. We end up with a useful mathematical toolbox to analyse and characterise local features of quantum states in 𝔉G. Specifically, an analysis of the global vacuum state |0G⟩∈𝔉G in terms of local number operators shows, as expected, the existence of entanglement between the left and right regions of the box. The local vacuum |0L⟩∈𝔉L, on the contrary, has a very different character. It is neither cyclic nor separating and displays no entanglement. Further analysis shows that the global vacuum also exhibits a distribution of local excitations reminiscent, in some respects, of a thermal bath. We discuss how the mathematical tools developed herein may open new ways for the analysis of fundamental problems in local quantum field theory.

Phase Stabilization of a Frequency Comb using Multipulse Quantum Interferometry.

A. Cadarso, J. Mur-Petit, J. J. García-Ripoll.
From the interaction between a frequency comb and an atomic qubit, we derive quantum protocols for the determination of the carrier-envelope offset phase, using the qubit coherence as a reference, and without the need of frequency doubling or an octave spanning comb. Compared with a trivial interference protocol, the multipulse protocol results in a polynomial enhancement of the sensitivity 𝒪(N−2) with the number N of laser pulses involved. We specialize the protocols using optical or hyperfine qubits, Λ schemes, and Raman transitions, and introduce methods where the reference is another phase-stable cw laser or frequency comb.

Quantum Chaos in an Ultrastrongly Coupled Bosonic Junction.

U. Naether, J. J. García-Ripoll, J. J. Mazo, D. Zueco.
The semiclassical and quantum dynamics of two ultrastrongly coupled nonlinear resonators cannot be explained using the discrete nonlinear Schrödinger equation or the Bose-Hubbard model, respectively. Instead, a model beyond the rotating wave approximation must be studied. In the semiclassical limit this model is not integrable and becomes chaotic for a finite window of parameters. For the quantum dimer we find corresponding regions of stability and chaos. The more striking consequence for both semiclassical and quantum chaos is that the tunneling time between the sites becomes unpredictable. These results, including the transition to chaos, can be tested in experiments with superconducting microwave resonators.

Scattering in the Ultrastrong Regime: Nonlinear Optics with One Photon.

E. Sánchez-Burrillo, D. Zueco, J. J García-Ripoll, L. Martín-Moreno.
The scattering of a flying photon by a two-level system ultrastrongly coupled to a one-dimensional photonic waveguide is studied numerically. The photonic medium is modeled as an array of coupled cavities and the whole system is analyzed beyond the rotating wave approximation using Matrix Product States. It is found that the scattering is strongly influenced by the single- and multi-photon dressed bound states present in the system. In the ultrastrong coupling regime a new channel for inelastic scattering appears, where an incident photon deposits energy into the qubit, exciting a photon-bound state, and escaping with a lower frequency. This single-photon nonlinear frequency conversion process can reach up to 50% efficiency. Other remarkable features in the scattering induced by counter-rotating terms are a blueshift of the reflection resonance and a Fano resonance due to long-lived excited states.

What Does It Mean for Half of an Empty Cavity to Be Full?

E. G. Brown, M. del Rey, H. Westman, J. León, A. Dragan.
It is well known that the vacuum state of a quantum field is spatially entangled. This is true both in free and confined spaces, for example in an optical cavity. The obvious consequence of this, however, is surprising and intuitively challenging; namely, that in a mathematical sense half of an empty cavity is not empty. Formally this is clear, but what does this physically mean in terms of, say, measurements that can actually be made? In this paper we utilize the tools of Gaussian quantum mechanics to easily characterize the reduced state of a subregion in a cavity and expose the spatial profile of its entanglement with the opposite region. We then go on to discuss a thought experiment in which a mirror is introduced between the regions. In so doing we expose a simple and physically concrete answer to the above question: the vacuum excitations resulting from entanglement are mathematically equivalent to the real excitations generated by suddenly introducing a mirror. Performing such an experiment in the laboratory may be an excellent method of verifying vacuum entanglement, and we conclude by discussing different possibilities of achieving this aim.