Strongly correlated quantum fluids and effective thermalization in non-Markovian driven-dissipative photonic systems

Lebreuillly, José (2017) Strongly correlated quantum fluids and effective thermalization in non-Markovian driven-dissipative photonic systems. PhD thesis, University of Trento.

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Collective quantum phenomena are fascinating, as they repeatedly challenge our comprehension of nature and its underlying mechanisms. The qualification ``quantum'' can be attributed to a generic many-body system whenever the interference effects related to the underlying wave nature of its elementary constituents can not be neglected anymore, and a naive classical description in terms of interacting billiard balls fails to catch its most essential features. This interference phenomenon called ``quantum degeneracy'' which occurs at weak temperatures, leads to spectacular collective behaviours such as the celebrated Bose-Einstein Condensation (BEC) phase transition, where a macroscopic fraction of a bosonic system of particles collapses below a critical temperature T_c on a single-particle state. Quantum coherence, when combined with inter-particle interactions, gives rise to highly non-classical frictionless hydrodynamic behaviours such as superfluidity (SF) and superconductivity (SC). Even more exotic quantum phases emerge in presence of important interactions as matter reaches a ``strongly correlated regime'' dominated by quantum fluctuations, where each particle is able to affect significantly the surrounding fluid: characteristic examples are the so-called Mott-Insulator (MI) quantum phase where particles are localized on a lattice due to a strong interaction-induced blockade, along with the Tonks-Girardeau (TG) gas where impenetrable bosons in one-dimension acquire effective fermionic statistics up to a unitary transformation, and the Fractional Quantum Hall (FQH) effect which occurs in presence of a gauge field, and features a special type of elementary excitation possessing a fractional charge and obeying to fractional statistics called `anyon'. These quantum many-body effects were explored in a first place in systems well isolated from the external environment such as ultra-cold atomic gases or electrons in solid-state systems, within a physical context well described by ``equilibrium statistical mechanics''. Yet, over the last two decades a broad community has started investigating the possibility of stabilizing interacting quantum phases in novel nonlinear quantum optics architectures, where interacting photons have replaced their atomic and electronic counterpart. Thanks to their high level of controllability and flexibility, and the possibility of reaching the quantum degeneracy regime at exceptionally high temperatures, these platforms appear as extremely promising candidates for the ``quantum simulation'' of the most exotic many-body quantum problems: while the precursors experiments in semiconductor exciton-polariton already allow to reach the Bose-Einstein Condensation and superfluid regimes, novel platforms such as superconducting circuits, coupled cavity arrays or photons coupled to Rydberg EIT (Electromagnetically induced Transparency) atoms have entered the so-called `photon blockade' where photons behave as impenetrable particles, and open a encouraging pathway toward the future generation of strongly correlated phases with light. A specificity of quantum optics devices is their intrinsic ``non-equilibrium'' nature: the interplay between the practically unavoidable radiative and non-radiative losses and the external drive needed to replenish the photon gas leads the many-body system toward a steady-state presenting important non-thermal features. One one hand, an overwhelmingly large quantity of novel quantum phenomena is expected in the non-equilibrium framework, as breaking the thermal equilibrium condition releases severe constraints on the state of a quantum system and on the nature of its surrounding environment. On the other hand, we do not benefit yet of an understanding of non-equilibrium statistical mechanics comparable with its well-established equilibrium counterpart, which relies on strong historical foundations. Understanding how to tame (and possibly exploit) non-equilibrium effects in order to stabilize interesting quantum phases in a controlled manner often reveals a hard challenge. In that prospect, an important conceptual issue in the non-equilibrium physics of strongly interacting photons regards the possibility of stabilizing ``incompressible quantum phases'' such as the Mott-Insulator or Fractional Quantum Hall states, and more generally to stabilize the ground-state of a given particle-number conserving Hamiltonian, in a physical context where dissipative losses can not be neglected. While being able to quantum simulate those emblematic strongly correlated quantum phases in this novel experimental context would strongly benefit to the quantum optics community, gaining such a kind of flexibility would also contribute to fill an important bridge between the equilibrium and the non-equilibrium statistical physics of open quantum systems, allowing to access in a controlled manner a whole new phenomenology at the interface between the two theories. In this thesis I address those questions, which I reformulate in the following manner: -What are the conditions for the emergence of analogue equilibrium properties in open quantum systems in contact with a non-thermal environment ? -In particular, is it possible to stabilize strongly correlated quantum phases with a perfectly defined particle number in driven-dissipative photonic platforms, in spite of environment-induced losses and heating effects ? The structure of the thesis is the following. [Chapter 1.] We give an overview of the physics of many-body photonic systems. As a first step we address the weakly interacting regime in the physical context of exciton-polaritons: after describing the microscopic aspects of typical experiments, we move to the discussion of non-equilibrium Bose-Einstein Condensation and the various mechanisms related to the emergence of thermal signatures at steady-state. The second part of this Chapter is dedicated to strongly interacting fluids. After drawing a quick overview of several experimental platforms presenting a good potential for the study of such physics in a near future, we discuss the relative performance of several schemes proposed in order to replenish the photonic population [Chapter 2.] We investigate the potential of a non-Markovian pump scheme with a narrow bandpass (Lorentzian shaped) emission spectrum for the generation of strongly correlated states of light in a Bose-Hubbard lattice. Our proposal can be implemented by mean of embedded inverted two-level emitters with a strong incoherent pumping toward the excited state. Our study confirms in a single cavity the possibility of stabilizing photonic Fock states in a single configuration, and strongly localized n=1 Mott-Insulator states in a lattice with n=1 density. We show that a relatively moderate hopping is responsible for a depletion of the Mott-state, which then moves toward a delocalized state reminiscent of the superfluid regime. Finally, we proceed to a mean-field analysis of the phase diagram, and unveil a Mott-to-Superfluid transition characterized by a spontaneous breaking of the U(1) symmetry and incommensurate density. The results of this Chapter are based on the following publications: - J. Lebreuilly, M. Wouters and I. Carusotto, ``Towards strongly correlated photons in arrays of dissipative nonlinear cavities under a frequency-dependent incoherent pumping'', C. R. Phys., 17(8), 836, 2016. - A. Biella, F. Storme, J. Lebreuilly, D. Rossini, R. Fazio, I. Carusotto and C. Ciuti, ``Phase diagram of incoherently driven strongly correlated photonic lattice'', Phys. Rev. A, 96, 023839, 2017. [Chapter 3.] In view of improving the performance of the scheme introduced in last chapter, and reproducing in particular the equilibrium zero temperature phenomenology in driven-dissipative photonic lattices, we develop a fully novel scheme based on the use of non-Markovian reservoirs with tailored broadband spectra which allows to mimick the effect of tunable chemical potential. Our proposal can be implemented by mean of a small number of emitters and absorbers and is accessible to current technologies. We first analyse the case of a frequency-dependent emission with a square spectrum and confirm the possibility of stabilizing Mott insulator states with arbitrary integer density. Unlike the previous proposal the Mott state is robust against both losses and tunneling. A sharp transition toward a delocalized superfluid-like state can be induced by strong values of the tunneling or a change in the effective chemical potential. While an overall good agreement is found with the T=0 predictions, our analysis highlights small deviations from the equilibrium case in some parts of the parameters space, which are characterized by a non-vanishing entropy and the kinetic generation of doublon excitations. We finally consider an improved scheme involving additional frequency-dependent losses, and show in that case that the Hamiltonian ground-state is fully recovered for any choice of parameters. Our proposal, whose functionality relies on generic energy relaxation mechanisms and is not restricted to the Bose-Hubbard model, appears as a promising quantum simulator of zero temperature physics in photonic devices. The results of this Chapter are based on the following publication: - J. Lebreuilly, A. Biella, F. Storme, D. Rossini, R. Fazio, C. Ciuti and I. Carusotto, ``Stabilizing strongly correlated photon fluids with non-Markovian reservoirs'', Phys. Rev. A 96, 033828 (2017). [Chapter 4.] We adopt a broader perspective, and analyse the conditions for the emergence of analogous thermal properties in driven-dissipative quantum systems. We show that the impact of an equilibrated environment can be mimicked by several non-Markovian and non-equilibrated reservoirs. Chapter 2 already features a preliminary result in that direction, showing that in presence of a broad reservoir spectral density a given quantum system will evolve toward a Gibbs ensemble with an artificial chemical potential and temperature. In this chapter we develop a broader analysis focusing as a counterpart part on the exactly solvable model of a weakly interacting Bose Gas in the \acs{BEC} regime. Our formalism based on a quantum Langevin model, allows in particular to access both static and dynamical properties: remarkably, we demonstrate not only the presence of an equilibrium static signature, but also the validity of the fluctuation-dissipation theorem. While our results apply only for low-energy excitations for an arbitrary choice of reservoir spectral densities, we predict that a fine tuned choices of reservoirs mimicking the so-called Kennard Stepanov condition will lead to a full apparent equilibration. Such effect that we call ``pseudo-thermalization'' implies that under very specific conditions, an open quantum system can present all the properties of an equilibrated one in spite of the presence of an highly non equilibrated environment. The results of this Chapter are based on the following paper: - J. Lebreuilly, A. Chiocchetta and I. Carusotto, ``Pseudo-thermalization in driven-dissipative non-Markovian open quantum systems'', arXiv:1710.09602 (submitted for publication).

Item Type:Doctoral Thesis (PhD)
Doctoral School:Physics
PhD Cycle:30
Subjects:Area 02 - Scienze fisiche > FIS/02 FISICA TEORICA, MODELLI E METODI MATEMATICI
Additional Information:INO-CNR; BEC Center
Repository Staff approval on:14 Dec 2017 16:46

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