Publications

Quantum sensing of weak radio-frequency signals by pulsed Mollow absorption spectroscopy
Joas, T., Waeber, A. M., Braunbeck, G. and Reinhard, Friedemann
Nat. Commun. , Volume 8, page: 964
October 2017

Abstract: Quantum sensors—qubits sensitive to external fields—have become powerful detectors for various small acoustic and electromagnetic fields. A major key to their success have been dynamical decoupling protocols which enhance sensitivity to weak oscillating (AC) signals. Currently, those methods are limited to signal frequencies below a few MHz. Here we harness a quantum-optical effect, the Mollow triplet splitting of a strongly driven two-level system, to overcome this limitation. We microscopically understand this effect as a pulsed dynamical decoupling protocol and find that it enables sensitive detection of fields close to the driven transition. Employing a nitrogen-vacancy center, we detect GHz microwave fields with a signal strength (Rabi frequency) below the current detection limit, which is set by the center’s spectral linewidth 1∕T2*. Pushing detection sensitivity to the much lower 1/T2 limit, this scheme could enable various applications, most prominently coherent coupling to single phonons and microwave photons.

Noise-induced subdiffusion in strongly localized quantum systems
Gopalakrishnan, Sarang, Islam, K. Ranjibul and Knap, Michael
Phys. Rev. Lett. , Volume 119, page: 046601
July 2017

Abstract: We consider the dynamics of strongly localized systems subject to dephasing noise with arbitrary correlation time. Although noise inevitably induces delocalization, transport in the noise-induced delocalized phase is subdiffusive in a parametrically large intermediate-time window. We argue for this intermediate-time subdiffusive regime both analytically and using numerical simulations on single-particle localized systems. Furthermore, we show that normal diffusion is restored in the long-time limit, through processes analogous to variable-range hopping. With numerical simulations based on Lanczos exact diagonalization, we demonstrate that our qualitative conclusions are also valid for interacting systems in the many-body localized phase.

Quantum sensing
Degen, C. L., Reinhard, Friedemann and Cappellaro, P
Rev. Mod. Phys. , Volume 89(3)
July 2017

Abstract: “Quantum sensing” describes the use of a quantum system, quantum properties, or quantum phenomena to perform a measurement of a physical quantity. Historical examples of quantum sensors include magnetometers based on superconducting quantum interference devices and atomic vapors or atomic clocks. More recently, quantum sensing has become a distinct and rapidly growing branch of research within the area of quantum science and technology, with the most common platforms being spin qubits, trapped ions, and flux qubits. The field is expected to provide new opportunities—especially with regard to high sensitivity and precision—in applied physics and other areas of science. This review provides an introduction to the basic principles, methods, and concepts of quantum sensing from the viewpoint of the interested experimentalist.

Theory of parametrically amplified electron-phonon superconductivity
Babadi, Mehrtash, Knap, Michael, Martin, Ivar, Refael, Gil and Demler, Eugene
Phys. Rev. B , Volume 96, page: 014512
July 2017

Abstract: Ultrafast optical manipulation of ordered phases in strongly correlated materials is a topic of significant theoretical, experimental, and technological interest. Inspired by a recent experiment on light-induced superconductivity in fullerenes [M. Mitrano et al., Nature (London) 530, 461 (2016)], we develop a comprehensive theory of light-induced superconductivity in driven electron-phonon systems with lattice nonlinearities. In analogy with the operation of parametric amplifiers, we show how the interplay between the external drive and lattice nonlinearities lead to significantly enhanced effective electron-phonon couplings. We provide a detailed and unbiased study of the nonequilibrium dynamics of the driven system using the real-time Green's function technique. To this end, we develop a Floquet generalization of the Migdal-Eliashberg theory and derive a numerically tractable set of quantum Floquet-Boltzmann kinetic equations for the coupled electron-phonon system. We study the role of parametric phonon generation and electronic heating in destroying the transient superconducting state. Finally, we predict the transient formation of electronic Floquet bands in time- and angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy experiments as a consequence of the proposed mechanism.

Note: Editors' Suggestion

Multiple-Quantum Transitions and Charge-Induced Decoherence of Donor Nuclear Spins in Silicon
Franke, David P., Pflüger, Moritz P. D., Itoh, Kohei M. and Brandt, Martin S.
PRL , Volume 118
June 2017

Abstract: We study single- and multiquantum transitions of the nuclear spins of an ensemble of ionized arsenic donors in silicon and find quadrupolar effects on the coherence times, which we link to fluctuating electrical field gradients present after the application of light and bias voltage pulses. To determine the coherence times of superpositions of all orders in the 4-dimensional Hilbert space, we use a phase-cycling technique and find that, when electrical effects were allowed to decay, these times scale as expected for a fieldlike decoherence mechanism such as the interaction with surrounding 29Si nuclear spins.

Scrambling and thermalization in a diffusive quantum many-body system
Bohrdt, A., Mendl, C. B., Endres, Manuel and Knap, Michael

Abstract: Out-of-time ordered (OTO) correlation functions describe scrambling of information in correlated quantum matter. They are of particular interest in incoherent quantum systems lacking well defined quasi-particles. Thus far, it is largely elusive how OTO correlators spread in incoherent systems with diffusive transport governed by a few globally conserved quantities. Here, we study the dynamical response of such a system using high-performance matrix-product-operator techniques. Specifically, we consider the non-integrable, one-dimensional Bose–Hubbard model in the incoherent high-temperature regime. Our system exhibits diffusive dynamics in time-ordered correlators of globally conserved quantities, whereas OTO correlators display a ballistic, light-cone spreading of quantum information. The slowest process in the global thermalization of the system is thus diffusive, yet information spreading is not inhibited by such slow dynamics. We furthermore develop an experimentally feasible protocol to overcome some challenges faced by existing proposals and to probe time-ordered and OTO correlation functions. Our study opens new avenues for both the theoretical and experimental exploration of thermalization and information scrambling dynamics.

Bloch oscillations in the absence of a lattice.
Meinert, Florian, Knap, Michael, Kirilov, Emil, Jag-Lauber, Katharina, Zvonarev, Mikhail B., Demler, Eugene and Nägerl, Hanns-Christoph
Science , Volume 356, page: 945
June 2017

Abstract: The interplay of strong quantum correlations and far-from-equilibrium conditions can give rise to striking dynamical phenomena. We experimentally investigated the quantum motion of an impurity atom immersed in a strongly interacting one-dimensional Bose liquid and subject to an external force. We found that the momentum distribution of the impurity exhibits characteristic Bragg reflections at the edge of an emergent Brillouin zone. Although Bragg reflections are typically associated with lattice structures, in our strongly correlated quantum liquid they result from the interplay of short-range crystalline order and kinematic constraints on the many-body scattering processes in the one-dimensional system. As a consequence, the impurity exhibits periodic dynamics, reminiscent of Bloch oscillations, although the quantum liquid is translationally invariant. Our observations are supported by large-scale numerical simulations.

Floquet prethermalization and regimes of heating in a periodically driven, interacting quantum system.
Weidinger, Simon A. and Knap, Michael
Sci. Rep. , Volume 7, page: 45382
April 2017

Abstract: We study the regimes of heating in the periodically driven O(N)-model, which represents a generic model for interacting quantum many-body systems. By computing the absorbed energy with a non-equilibrium Keldysh Green's function approach, we establish three dynamical regimes: at short times a single-particle dominated regime, at intermediate times a stable Floquet prethermal regime in which the system ceases to absorb, and at parametrically late times a thermalizing regime. Our simulations suggest that in the thermalizing regime the absorbed energy grows algebraically in time with an the exponent that approaches the universal value of 1/2, and is thus significantly slower than linear Joule heating. Our results demonstrate the parametric stability of prethermal states in a generic many-body system driven at frequencies that are comparable to its microscopic scales. This paves the way for realizing exotic quantum phases, such as time crystals or interacting topological phases, in the prethermal regime of interacting Floquet systems.

Rare region effects and dynamics near the many-body localization transition.
Agarwal, Kartiek, Altman, Ehud, Demler, Eugene, Gopalakrishnan, Sarang, Huse, David A. and Knap, Michael
Annalen der Physik, Special issue on Many-Body Localization
January 2017

Abstract: The low-frequency response of systems near the many-body localization phase transition, on either side of the transition, is dominated by contributions from rare regions that are locally “in the other phase”, i.e., rare localized regions in a system that is typically thermal, or rare thermal regions in a system that is typically localized. Rare localized regions affect the properties of the thermal phase, especially in one dimension, by acting as bottlenecks for transport and the growth of entanglement, whereas rare thermal regions in the localized phase act as local “baths” and dominate the low-frequency response of the MBL phase. We review recent progress in understanding these rare-region effects, and discuss some of the open questions associated with them: in particular, whether and in what circumstances a single rare thermal region can destabilize the many-body localized phase.

Dynamical Cooper pairing in non-equilibrium electron-phonon systems.
Knap, Michael, Babadi, Mehrtash, Refael, Gil, Martin, Ivar and Demler, Eugene
Phys. Rev. B , Volume 94
December 2016

Abstract: We analyze Cooper pairing instabilities in strongly driven electron-phonon systems. The light-induced nonequilibrium state of phonons results in a simultaneous increase of the superconducting coupling constant and the electron scattering. We demonstrate that the competition between these effects leads to an enhanced superconducting transition temperature in a broad range of parameters. Our results may explain the observed transient enhancement of superconductivity in several classes of materials upon irradiation with high intensity pulses of terahertz light, and may pave new ways for engineering high-temperature light-induced superconducting states.

Finite-temperature scaling close to Ising-nematic quantum critical points in two-dimensional metals
Punk, Matthias
Phys. Rev. B , Volume 94(195113)
November 2016

Abstract: We study finite-temperature properties of metals close to an Ising-nematic quantum critical point in two spatial dimensions. In particular we show that at any finite temperature there is a regime where order parameter fluctuations are characterized by a dynamical critical exponent z=2, in contrast to z=3 found at zero temperature. Our results are based on a simple Eliashberg-type approach, which gives rise to a boson self-energy proportional to Ω/γ(T) at small momenta, where γ(T) is the temperature dependent fermion scattering rate. These findings might shed some light on recent Monte Carlo simulations at finite temperature, where results consistent with z=2 were found.

Ultrafast many-body interferometry of impurities coupled to a Fermi sea
Cetina, Marko, Jag, Michael, Lous, Rianne S., Fritsche, Isabella, Walraven, Jook T. M., Grimm, Rudolf, Levinsen, Jesper, Parish, Meera M., Schmidt, Richard, Knap, Michael and Demler, Eugene
Science , Volume 354(6308), page: 96-99
October 2016

Abstract: The fastest possible collective response of a quantum many-body system is related to its excitations at the highest possible energy. In condensed matter systems, the time scale for such “ultrafast” processes is typically set by the Fermi energy. Taking advantage of fast and precise control of interactions between ultracold atoms, we observed nonequilibrium dynamics of impurities coupled to an atomic Fermi sea. Our interferometric measurements track the nonperturbative quantum evolution of a fermionic many-body system, revealing in real time the formation dynamics of quasi-particles and the quantum interference between attractive and repulsive states throughout the full depth of the Fermi sea. Ultrafast time-domain methods applied to strongly interacting quantum gases enable the study of the dynamics of quantum matter under extreme nonequilibrium conditions.

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