Generalized Quantum Phase Transitions for Quantum-State Engineering in Spinor Bose-Einstein Condensates

verfasst von
Polina Feldmann
betreut von
Luis Sanchez Santos

Entanglement lies at the core of emergent quantum technologies such as quantum-enhanced metrology, quantum communication and cryptography, and quantum simulation and computing. Spinor Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) offer a promising platform for the generation and application of entangled states. For example, a spin-1 BEC has served for the proof-of-principle demonstration of a quantum-enhanced atomic clock. Ferromagnetic spin-1 BECs with zero magnetization exhibit three ground-state quantum phases with different entanglement properties. The control parameter can be tuned by a magnetic field or by microwave dressing. As already experimentally demonstrated, an entangled ground state can be reached from a well accessible, non-entangled one by driving the control parameter across quantum phase transitions (QPTs). We investigate which of the entangled ground states afford quantum-enhanced interferometry. The interferometric usefulness is quantified by the quantum Fisher information (QFI), which we analyze throughout all ground-state phases. A large QFI at about half the Heisenberg limit, and thus far above the standard quantum limit, is attained by the well-known Twin-Fock state and by the central broken-axisymmetry (CBA) state. We detail how the CBA state can be used as a probe for quantum-enhanced interferometry. Furthermore, we observe that the large QFI of the CBA state can be traced back to enclosed macroscopic superposition states (MSSs). Measuring the atom number in one out of three modes generates, with high probability and heralded by the measurement outcome, a MSS similar to a NOON state. Our proposal promises NOON-like MSSs of unprecedentedly many atoms. Both proposed applications of the adiabatically prepared CBA state depend only on existent technology. Our numerical results show that they tolerate a reasonably swift quasiadiabatic passage in the presence of atom loss as well as uncertainties of atom counting. Excited-state quantum phase transitions (ESQPTs) extend the concept of QPTs beyond the ground state. While they have been extensively investigated theoretically, there are only few experimental results. From the perspective of quantum-state engineering, it is furthermore surprising how rarely order parameters of ESQPTs are discussed in the literature. Mean-field models for spinor BECs imply ESQPTs, to which some experimental observations on the mean-field dynamics can be attributed. However, so far, neither theoretical nor experimental studies have specifically addressed ESQPTs in spinor BECs. We extend the ground-state phase diagram of ferromagnetic spin-1 BECs with zero magnetization across the spectrum. There are three excited-state phases, corresponding to one ground-state phase each. The ESQPTs are signaled by a diverging density of states. The mean-field phase-space trajectories can be characterized by a winding number that is in one-to-one correspondence to the excited-state phases. We derive a closely related order parameter encoded in the dynamics of coherent states and discuss how this order parameter can be interferometrically measured in current experiments. Remarkably, the mean-field model governing the ESQPTs in spin-1 BECs with zero magnetization is encountered also, e. g., in molecular and nuclear physics. Because of the superior experimental control, spinor BECs can be considered as simulators of the ESQPTs in those systems. Our results contribute to quantum-state engineering and quantum-enhanced interferometry in spinor BECs and to the characterization of excited-state quantum phases. The latter may, in turn, lead on to applications in quantum-state engineering.

Institut für Theoretische Physik
QUEST Leibniz Forschungsschule
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