Theory Seminar

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About the Theory Seminar

New Rules (since May 2012), Old rules


Date Seminars 2014     (Go to Seminars 2013, Seminars 2012, Seminars 2011, and earlier therein)

15.01.2014 High Energy Physics in the Light of Quantum Simulators

Eliška Greplová

The goal of this seminar is to provide an overview of some of the latest work on the simulation of high energy physics using ultracold atoms. The basics of continuous and lattice field theory together with the gauge principle will be reviewed, and the engineering of the corresponding Hamiltonians using optical lattices will be discussed. The presentation will be mainly based on the following references:

[1] Phys. Rev. A 88, 023617 (2013)
[2] Ann. Phys. (Berlin) 525, No. 10–11, 777–796 (2013)

22.01.2014 Beyond Adiabatic Elimination

Vanessa Paulisch

Adiabatic elimination is a commonly used method for approximating the dynamics of multi-level systems. This procedure is, however, somewhat ambiguous and it is not clear how to improve on it systematically. Parts of my bachelor thesis, which deal with these problems, will be presented in this seminar. In addition, illustrative examples, applications and an alternative to the adiabatic elimination procedure for Raman transitions [1] will be discussed. The most important results of my thesis can be found on arXiv:1209.6568.

[1] R. Han et al. (2013) Raman transitions without adiabatic elimination: A simple and accurate treatment. J. Mod. Opt. 60, 255

29.01.2014 An elementary quantum network of single atoms in optical cavities

Guest speaker: Carolin Hahn (MPQ, Quantum Dynamics Group)

Quantum networks are at the heart of quantum communication and distributed quantum computing. Single atoms trapped in optical resonators are ideally suited as universal quantum network nodes capable of sending, receiving, storing, and releasing photonic quantum information. The reversible exchange of quantum information between such single-atom cavity nodes is achieved by the coherent exchange of single photons. In my talk I will discuss the first experimental realization of an elementary quantum network consisting of two atom-cavity nodes that are located in remote, independent laboratories an MPQ in Garching [1]. We demonstrate the faithful transfer of arbitrary quantum states and the creation of entanglement between the two atoms. We characterize the fidelity and lifetime of the maximally entangled Bell states and manipulate the nonlocal state via unitary operations applied locally at one of the nodes. This cavity-based approach to quantum networking offers a clear perspective for scalability.

[1] S. Ritter et al., “An elementary quantum network of single atoms in optical cavities”, Nature 484, 195-200 (2012)

05.02.2014 The numerical renormalization group

Stefan Kühn

I will give a very basic introduction to the ideas of the renormalization group. After some background has been established, I would like to present the Kadanoff block spin method for the Ising model as a simple example for the application of the renormalization group. Finally I will discuss the numerical renormalization group approach to the single-impurity Anderson model.

12.02.2014 Fiber-based Fabry-Perot microcavities: A powerful tool for experiments with quantum- and nanosystems

Guest speaker: David Hunger (MPQ, Laser Spectroscopy Group)

State of the art optical microcavities store light within volumes of wavelength scale for millions of optical cycles. Such spatio-temporal confinement of light can dramatically enhance light-matter interactions. To provide this capability on an accessible platform, we have developed microscopic Fabry-Perot cavities based on laser-machined optical fibers. The design achieves small mode volumes and large quality factors, combined with full tunability and open access to the cavity field. I will present our current efforts to build efficient single photon sources and to perform ultrasensitive microscopy with such cavities.

19.02.2014 Open quantum many-body systems: when interactions meet dissipations

Guest speaker: Zi Cai (LMU Munich)

Understanding quantum systems embedded into environment is of particular theoretical and practical importance. The situation becomes particularly interesting and complex when the system itself is already an interacting many-body system, which provides novel perspectives to quantum many-body physics. In this talk, I will present two examples to show how the conspiracy of dissipation and interaction can significantly change the behaviors of the quantum systems and give rise to novel phenomena, including the algebraic decoherence behavior and a dissipation-induced localization. Our numerical methods can be applied to various open quantum many-body systems ranging from the Rydberg atoms and trapped ions to quantum computational systems based on solid-state devices (e.g. rf-SQUIDs, Solid-state qubits in diamonds nanostructures and quantum wells).

26.02.2014 Quantum information processing with closed timelike curves

Ivan Glasser

There is now a significant body of results on quantum interactions with closed timelike curves (CTCs) in the quantum information literature. In this talk I will present and compare two theories that make an attempt at treating time travel quantum-mechanically : Deutsch's theory of CTCs and the theory of CTCs through post-selected teleportation. Using a CTC we will kill our grandfathers and point out how the two theories have a different way of solving the causality paradox. Then we will show how CTCs enable us to distinguish non-orthogonal quantum states and to clone an arbitrary quantum state. Finally we will discuss the ambiguities that appear in non-linear extensions of quantum mechanics when dealing with proper and improper mixtures and show how these ambiguities may affect the interpretation of our previous results.

12.03.2014 Continuous Matrix Product States

Benedikt Herwerth Continuous matrix product states, introduced by F. Verstraete and J. I. Cirac in 2010, are an interesting generalization of the successful matrix product ansatz to continuous theories. As such, they provide a new, variational approach to study quantum field theories. In this seminar, we will discuss the definition of continuous matrix product states, their relation to discrete matrix product states, applications and we will consider possible future directions.

The talk will mainly focus on the studies
[1] F. Verstraete and J. I. Cirac, Phys. Rev. Lett. 104, 190405,
[2] Jutho Haegeman et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 105, 251601,
[3] Jutho Haegeman et al., Phys. Rev. B 88, 085118.

19.03.2014 Area law and Tensor Networks

Andras Molnar

Area laws emerging from studies of the black hole entropy are a surprising feature of Nature. It tells us that information contained in a region is located on the boundary. This philosophy motivated the study of area laws for spin systems. I will overview these area laws and discuss their relation to the approximations by MPS and PEPS.

02.04.2014 Precision physics at low energy: The proton radius puzzle

Guest speaker: Randolf Pohl (MPQ, Laser Spectroscopy Group)

The recent discovery of the Higgs particle at CERN is a tremendous success of human ingenuity. Disappointingly, however, no sign of physics beyond the Standard Model has been seen so far. Precision measurements at low energy can give a complementary access to BSM physics. Here, two experiments involving muons, have displayed a large discrepancy to the Standard Model: The muon (g-2) measurement and the measurement of the proton rms charge radius from laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen. After a brief introduction to some precision tests of the Standard Model I will focus on the "proton radius puzzle".

09.04.2014 Inflation

Speaker: Lucas Clemente

I will give a very basic introduction to the theory of cosmic inflation, why it solves the horizon- & flatness problems and how quantum fluctuations during inflation explain the present-day structure of the universe. I will also talk about recent observations of the microwave background (WMAP, Planck, BICEP) and discuss how they confirm inflation. Please find my slides (once finished) at

23.04.2014 Properties of topological codes

Speaker: Xiaotong Ni

The field of quantum error correction has borrowed many ideas that come from the study of topological order. One notable example is the toric code. In this talk I'm going to talk about some properties of these topological codes, with a focus on the so called "cleaning lemma" and the usage of holographic principle.

30.04.2014 Simulation of dynamic Abelian and non-Abelian gauge theories with ultracold atoms

Speaker: Erez Zohar

In this talk I will present the ongoing MPQ-TAU collaboration, in which we use several methods of ultracold atoms trapped in optical lattices as quantum simulators for 1+1 and 2+1 dimensional dynamic gauge theories. The simulating methods are different and use various implementations - either BECs or single atoms, and allow the simulation of the gauge field and coupled matter dynamics and the observation of confinement, as well as measuring Wilson Loops, in Abelian (U(1) - compact QED and Z_N) or non-Abelian (SU(N)) lattice gauge theories.

[1] Zohar, E. and Reznik, B. - Phys. Rev. Lett. 107, 275301 (2011)
[2] Zohar, E., Cirac, J.I. and Reznik, B. - Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 125302 (2012)
[3] Zohar, E., Cirac, J.I. and Reznik, B. - Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 055302 (2013)
[4] Zohar, E., Cirac, J.I. and Reznik, B. - Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 125304 (2013)
[5] Zohar, E. and Reznik, B. - New J. Phys. 15 (2013) 043041
[6] Zohar, E., Cirac, J.I. and Reznik, B. - Phys. Rev. A 88, 023617 (2013)

07.05.2014 Relativistic attosecond physics

Guest speaker: Laszlo Veisz (MPQ, Attosecond Physics Group)

Laser-plasma interactions beyond 10^18 W/cm^2, the so called relativistic intensity threshold, under certain circumstances generate pulses with the shortest durations to date, lying in the attosecond (10^-18 s) time domain. Utilizing an unparalleled laser source experiments are conducted to produce (a) intense isolated attosecond XUV and X-ray pulses via high harmonic generation in gases or dense plasmas as well as (b) relativistic femtosecond and attosecond electron bunches from laser-plasma interaction. These secondary beams open up various fields of applications, among others nonlinear XUV science or electron diffraction in the attosecond domain.

14.05.2014 Boundary theories for chiral Projected Entangled Pair States

Speaker: Thorsten Wahl

I will investigate the topological character of the chiral Gaussian fermionic states introduced in [Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 236805 (2013); arXiv:1308.0316]. These are topological Projected Entangled Pair States (PEPS), which are special in that they possess chiral edge modes, i.e., have a non-vanishing Chern number. I will show that this property arises from a symmetry on the virtual modes of the PEPS, which also leads to a universal correction to the area law for the zero Rényi entropy and a (double) degeneracy of the local parent Hamiltonian on the torus. Based on that symmetry, one can build string operators from which one can obtain the other degenerate ground state.

21.05.2014 Quantum simulation of two-dimensional U(1) critical systems: A Higgs particle and the possible help of string theory for the optical conductivity

Guest speaker: Lode Pollet (LMU Munich)

Quantum simulators are special purpose devices designed to provide physical insight in a specific quantum problem that is hard to study in the laboratory and impossible on a computer. However, before they can be used they require calibration. For cold atomic systems, quantum Monte Carlo simulations have played a key role there. They established a few years ago that the thermodynamic properties of the experimental system are in one-to-one agreement with the simulations of the corresponding model. The synergy between the two approaches has dramatically progressed since then, to each other’s benefice: In the main part of this talk, I will focus on the dynamical properties of a U(1) critical system in (2+1) dimensions focusing on the existence of the amplitude mode or Higgs particle, and on the optical conductivity, which we compare against predictions from the AdS/CFT correspondence. Finally, I will discuss some open problems for this approach to quantum simulation.

28.05.2014 Quantum Error Correction for Metrology

Guest speaker: Eric Kessler (Harvard University, USA)

Due to the particular experimental relevance, the effects of environmental noise in quantum metrology has been studied intensely in recent years. Fundamental bounds for parameter estimation of noisy channels have been derived, and experimental techniques have been developed to counter the compromising effects noise, such as dynamical decoupling. In this talk, I will introduce an alternative, error-correction-based approach to improve quantum sensing protocols in the presence of noise. Guided by several simple examples in the context of nanoscale sensing using nitrogen-vacancy centers in diamond, I derive a set of conditions under which it is possible to correct for errors arising from the coupling to the environment without perturbing the signal of the quantum measurement. The scheme is complementary to current dynamical decoupling techniques, and can improve sensing under realistic experimental conditions by several orders of magnitude. The perspective of Heisenberg-limited sensitivity in the presence of noise will be briefly discussed.

04.06.2014 Introduction to Superconducting Qubits

Vanessa Paulisch

Superconducting qubits are solid state electrical circuits with applications in quantum information processing. They are made of superconducting inductors, capacitors and Josephson junctions, where the latter forms the central element due to it's non-linear behaviour. In contrast to microscopic quantum systems, they tend to be well coupled to other circuits/”qubits”. I will explain the simplest and most basic “qubit”, the Cooper-Pair-Box, in detail and compare it to other implementations of superconducting qubits. Furthermore, I will discuss their coupling, readout and coherence times, supplemented with recent experimental achievements.

18.06.2014 Gauge color codes

Guest Speaker: Hector Bombín (Perimeter Institute, Canada)

I will describe a new class of topological quantum error correcting codes with surprising features. The constructions is based on color codes: it preserves their unusual transversality properties but removes important drawbacks. In 3D, the new codes allow the effectively transversal implementation of a universal set of gates by gauge fixing, while error-dectecting measurements involve only 4 or 6 qubits. Furthermore, they do not require multiple rounds of error detection to achieve fault-tolerance.

25.06.2014 The computational power of black-box normalizer circuits

Juan Bermejo-Vega

Normalizer circuits are families of quantum circuits that generalize Clifford circuits (qubit operations widely used in QIT) to high dimensional spaces associated to groups. They can be efficiently simulated with classical computers although they can comprise quantum Fourier transforms, logic gates that are essential in Shor’s factoring algorithm. In this talk we will present new families of normalizer circuits are associated to infinite groups and black-box groups. We will show that black-box normalizer circuits can achieve exponential quantum speed-ups and implement several celebrated quantum algorithms, including Shor’s: this yields a precise formal connection between Clifford/normalizer circuits and famous quantum algorithms that break public-key cryptosystems.

Joint work with Cedric Yen-Yu Lin and Maarten Van den Nest.

09.07.2014 Efficient Estimation of Quantum States and Gates: A Survey and New Results

Guest Speaker: Steve Flammia (University of Sydney, Australia)

I will survey recent approaches for efficient estimation of quantum states and channels. This includes a host of novel methods based on powerful mathematical techniques, including compressed sensing, convex optimization, matrix product states, and more. In every case, these methods give provable asymptotic speedups over the prior state of the art, and enhance performance numerically as well. The focus will be on joint work with David Gross, Yi-Kai Liu, Joel Wallman, and Jens Eisert.

24.07.2014 The Asymptotic Cooling of Heat-Bath Algorithmic Cooling

Guest Speaker: Sadegh Raeisi (IQC Waterloo, Canada)

The purity of quantum states is a key requirement for many quantum applications. Improving the purity is limited by fundamental laws of thermodynamics. Here we are probing the fundamental limits for a natural approach to this problem, namely heat-bath algorithmic cooling(HBAC). The existence of the cooling limit for HBAC techniques was proved by Schulman et al. in, the limit however remained unknown for the past decade. Here for the first time we find this limit. In the context of quantum thermodynamics, this corresponds to the maximum extractable work from the quantum system.

06.08.2014 Quantum spin liquids at the vicinity of Mott transition

Guest Speaker: Yi Zhou (Zhejiang University, China)

We study quantum spin liquid states (QSLs) at the vicinity of metal-insulator transition. Assuming that the low energy excitations in the QSLs are described chargeful quasiparticles with the same Fermi surface structure as in the corresponding metallic phase, instead of charge neutral spinons, we propose a phenomenological Landau-like low energy theory for the QSLs and show that the usual U(1) QSLs with spinon Fermi surface is a representative member of this class of spin liquids. Based on our effective low energy theory, an alternative picture to the Brinkman-Rice picture of Mott metal-insulator transition is proposed. The charge, spin and thermal responses of QSLs are discussed as well as collective modes under such a phenomenology, which are consistent with existing experiments and can be verified by future experiments.

16.09.2014 Composite Fermion Theory of Fractional Quantum Hall Effect

Yinghai Wu

In this talk, we will first review the composite fermion theory of strongly interacting electrons in magnetic field in two dimensions. This theory successfully explains the incompressible fractional quantum Hall states, the compressible Fermi-liquid-like states, and the Wigner crystal states in the lowest Landau level that have been observed in various systems hosting two-dimensional electron gases. We then apply the composite fermion theory to study bosonic systems. From exact diagonalization studies of two-component bosons in synthetic magnetic field, we find evidence for several incompressible quantum Hall states as well as a compressible Fermi-liquid-like state. A quantitatively accurate microscopic understanding of these states is provided by the composite fermion theory. We also briefly discuss some other recent works on fractional quantum Hall states of electrons.

17.09.2014 Quantum simulation of the Schwinger Model: Is it feasible?

Stefan Kühn

During the last years there has been a variety of proposals to quantum simulate gauge theories. These simulators might offer an alternative route to address problems like out of equilibrium dynamics or certain regions of the phase diagram which are currently intractable to Monte Carlo simulations. Despite these promising prospects there are also limitations, as for example infinite dimensional Hilbert spaces for the gauge degrees of freedom typically have to be represented by finite dimensional systems and noise in a real experiment might break the gauge invariance. Hence, it is a crucial question how those limitations might affect the performance.

In this week's seminar I am going to address these questions for two particular realizations of the Schwinger model. I will present numerical evidence suggesting that even with a small finite dimension for the gauge degrees of freedom quite accurate results are possible and that the adiabatic ground state preparation is to some extent possible in the presence of gauge invariance breaking noise.

24.09.2014 Measuring the Chern number of Hofstadter bands with bosonic atoms

Guest Speaker: Monika Aidelsburger (LMU Munich)

The simulation of eletrons moving in periodic potentials exposed to large magnetic fields with ultracold atoms in optical lattices has motivated several successful experimental works about the realization of uniform artificial magnetic fields. One main challenge in this context is the implementation of experimental probes revealing the non-trivial topology of energy bands. Here I report about direct measurements of the transverse Hall deflection of ultracold bosonic atoms in artificially generated Hofstadter bands. In combination with the measured occupation of the different Hofstadter bands we were able to obtain an experimental value for the Chern number of the lowest band with good precision. This result constitutes the first Chern-number measurement in a non-electronic system. The artificial magnetic field was generated using a new all-optical technique, which enables flux rectification in a staggered optical superlattice based on laser-assisted tunneling.

08.10.2014 Tba

Martin Schütz