Decoherence of phonons in weakly and strongly-interacting Bose-Einstein condensates

Howl, R. (2016) Decoherence of phonons in weakly and strongly-interacting Bose-Einstein condensates. MSc(Res) thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This work investigates the theoretical and experimental decoherence of phonons in weakly and strongly-interacting Bose-Einstein Condensates (BECs). The theoretical analysis treats phonons as open quantum systems where the environment comprises all other quasi-particle modes of the BEC. The phonons are assumed to be Gaussian states and the time in which they decohere is estimated from the evolution of their purity and nonclassical depth in the dissipative channel. The calculations are performed for various BEC systems and it is found that the excited phonon states will always decohere much more rapidly than the rate at which they relax back to equilibrium with the environment.

Part II of this work considers how the decoherence of the phonons can be measured experimentally. The experiment that is currently being investigated uses a strongly-interacting [superscript]6Li BEC where the scattering length can be varied with an external magnetic field. In a strongly-interacting Bose gas the mutual interaction between the condensed and noncondensed components plays a greater role than in weakly-interacting gases and results in distinct absorption images.

Understanding the effects from this mutual interaction is vital to model the in-situ absorption images of a strongly-interacting BEC in order to extract accurate information such as that which will facilitate the experimental measurement of decoherence. Three theoretical models that could be used to fit in-situ absorption images of a strongly-interacting gas are analysed. These are the bi-modal, semi-ideal and Hartree-Fock models, which will be fit against the absorption images of the [superscript]6Li BEC for various scattering lengths. The validity of these models is also investigated to determine when beyond mean-field effects may be observed in the Bose gas.

Controlling decoherence is essential to the operation and physical realisation of many quantum information tasks and quantum technologies. Recently, new technologies have emerged from relativistic quantum information science that, in principle, are more precise than their non-relativistic counterparts. The practical setup of these devices utilizes phonons of BECs but the decoherence of the phonons has not been considered. In this work, one of the BEC systems used to estimate the decoherence time of the phonons has been chosen to be based on these devices. This calculation is expected to inform the practical realization of these devices and inspire future related studies. Analogue gravity investigations based on BECs also utilize phonons, for example, in the analogue of Hawking radiation. The quantum properties of these states is of particular interest in these studies and understanding how they decohere, and at what rate, could potentially inform the theory of black hole physics as well as dictate what is possible to measure experimentally.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (MSc(Res))
Supervisors: Hackermuller, L.
Fuentes, I.
Keywords: Decoherence, Bose-Einstein Condensate, Relativistic Quantum Information Theory, Quantum Technology, Analogue Gravity, Open Quantum Systems.
Subjects: Q Science > QC Physics > QC170 Atomic physics. Constitution and properties of matter
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Physics and Astronomy
Item ID: 31144
Depositing User: Howl, Richard
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2016 06:40
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2017 14:16

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