Date of Award

2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Physics

First Advisor

Rangan, Chitra

Rights

CC BY-NC ND 4.0

Abstract

Controlling the dynamics of open quantum systems; i.e. quantum systems that decohere because of interactions with the environment, is an active area of research with many applications in quantum optics and quantum computation. My thesis expands the scope of this inquiry by seeking to control open systems in proximity to an additional system. The latter could be a classical system such as metal nanoparticles, or a quantum system such as a cluster of similar atoms. By modelling the interactions between the systems, we are able to expand the accessible state space of the quantum system in question.For a single, three-level quantum system, I examine isolated systems that have only normal spontaneous emission. I then show that intensity-intensity correlation spectra, which depend directly on the density matrix of the system, can be used detect whether transitions share a common energy level. This detection is possible due to the presence of quantum interference effects between two transitions if they are connected. This effect allows one to asses energy level structure diagrams in complex atoms/molecules. By placing an open quantum system near a nanoparticle dimer, I show that the spontaneous emission rate of the system can be changed ``on demand" by changing the polarization of an incident, driving field. In a three-level, $\Lambda$ system, this allows a qubit to both retain high qubit fidelity when it is operating, and to be rapidly initialized to a pure state once it is rendered unusable by decoherence. This type of behaviour is not possible in a single open quantum system; therefore adding a classical system nearby extends the overall control space of the quantum system. An open quantum system near identical neighbours in a dense ensemble is another example of how the accessible state space can be expanded. I show that a dense ensemble of atoms rapidly becomes disordered with states that are not directly excited by an incident field becoming significantly populated. This effect motivates the need for using multi-directional basis sets in theoretical analysis of dense quantum systems. My results demonstrate the shortcomings of short-pulse techniques used in many recent studies. Based on my numerical studies, I hypothesize that the dense ensemble can be modelled by an effective single quantum system that has a decoherence rate that changes over time. My effective single particle model provides a way in which computational time can be reduced, and also a model in which the underlying physical processes involved in the system's evolution are much easier to understand. I then use this model to provide an elegant theoretical explanation for an unusual experimental result called ``transverse optical magnetism''. My effective single particle model's predictions match very well with experimental data.

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