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Publication# Revealing higher-order light and matter energy exchanges using quantum trajectories in ultrastrong coupling

Abstract

The dynamics of open quantum systems is often modeled using master equations, which describe the expected outcome of an experiment (i.e., the average over many realizations of the same dynamics). Quantum trajectories, instead, model the outcome of ideal single experiments-the "clicks" of a perfect detector due to, e.g., spontaneous emission. The correct description of quantum jumps, which are related to random events characterizing a sudden change in the wave function of an open quantum system, is pivotal to the definition of quantum trajectories. In this article, we extend the formalism of quantum trajectories to open quantum systems with ultrastrong coupling (USC) between light and matter by properly defining jump operators in this regime. In such systems, exotic higher-order quantum-state and energy transfer can take place without conserving the total number of excitations in the system. The emitted field of such USC systems bears signatures of these higher-order processes, and significantly differs from similar processes at lower coupling strengths. Notably, the emission statistics must be taken at a single quantum trajectory level, since the signatures of these processes are washed out by the "averaging" of a master equation. We analyze the impact of the chosen unraveling (i.e., how one collects the output field of the system) for the quantum trajectories and show that these effects of the higher-order USC processes can be revealed in experiments by constructing histograms of detected quantum jumps. We illustrate these ideas by analyzing the excitation of two atoms by a single photon [Garziano et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 117, 043601 (2016)]. For example, quantum trajectories reveal that keeping track of the quantum jumps from the atoms allows one to reconstruct both the oscillations between one photon and two atoms as well as emerging Rabi oscillations between the two atoms.

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Quantum mechanics

Quantum mechanics is a fundamental theory in physics that provides a description of the physical properties of nature at the scale of atoms and subatomic particles. It is the foundation of all quantum physics including quantum chemistry, quantum field theory, quantum technology, and quantum information science. Classical physics, the collection of theories that existed before the advent of quantum mechanics, describes many aspects of nature at an ordinary (macroscopic) scale, but is not sufficient for describing them at small (atomic and subatomic) scales.

Open quantum system

In physics, an open quantum system is a quantum-mechanical system that interacts with an external quantum system, which is known as the environment or a bath. In general, these interactions significantly change the dynamics of the system and result in quantum dissipation, such that the information contained in the system is lost to its environment. Because no quantum system is completely isolated from its surroundings, it is important to develop a theoretical framework for treating these interactions in order to obtain an accurate understanding of quantum systems.

Energy

In physics, energy () is the quantitative property that is transferred to a body or to a physical system, recognizable in the performance of work and in the form of heat and light. Energy is a conserved quantity—the law of conservation of energy states that energy can be converted in form, but not created or destroyed. The unit of measurement for energy in the International System of Units (SI) is the joule (J).

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