Nonequilibrium dynamics in open quantum systems
Dissertation Committee Chair: Professor Steven Rolston
Professor Alexey Gorshkov (Advisor)
Professor Mohammad Maghrebi
Professor Mohammad Hafezi
Professor Maissam Barkeshli
Due to the variety of tools possible to control atomic, molecular, and optical (AMO) systems, they provide a versatile platform for studying many-body physics, quantum simulation, and quantum computation. Although extensive efforts are employed to reduce coupling between the system and the environment, the effects of the environment can never fully be avoided, so it is important to develop a comprehensive understanding of open quantum systems. The system-environment coupling often leads to loss via dissipation, which can be countered by a coherent drive. Open quantum systems subject to dissipation and drive are known as driven-dissipative systems, and they provide an excellent platform for studying many-body nonequilibrium physics.
The first part of this dissertation will focus on Rydberg atoms. In particular, we study how the spontaneous generation of contaminant Rydberg states drastically modifies the behavior of a driven-dissipative Rydberg system due to the resultant dipole-dipole interactions. These interactions lead to a complicated competition of both blockade and antiblockade effects, resulting in strongly enhanced Rydberg populations for far-detuned drive and reduced Rydberg populations for resonant drive.
The second part of this dissertation will focus on driven-dissipative phase transitions. In spite of the nonequilibrium nature of these systems, the corresponding phase transitions tend to exhibit emergent equilibrium behavior. However, we will show that in the vicinity of a multicritical point where multiple phase transitions intersect, genuinely nonequilibrium criticality can emerge, even though the individual phase transitions on their own exhibit equilibrium criticality. These nonequilibrium multicritical points can exhibit a variety of exotic phenomena not possible in their equilibrium counterparts, including the emergence of complex critical exponents, which lead to discrete scale invariance and spiraling phase boundaries. Furthermore, the Liouvillian gap can take on complex values, and the fluctuation-dissipation theorem is violated, corresponding to an effective “temperature” which is scale-dependent.