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Publication# Novel materials and algorithms for quantum technologies

Abstract

The enormous advancements in the ability to detect and manipulate single quantum states have lead to the emerging field of quantum technologies. Among these, quantum computation is the most far-reaching and challenging, aiming to solve problems that the classic computers could never address because of the exponential scaling, while quantum sensing exploits the ability to address single quantum states to realize ultra-sensitive and precise detectors. Defect centers in semiconductors play a primary role in these fields. The possibility to store information in the spin of their ground state, manipulate it through microwaves, and read it optically allows to use them as qubits. In addition, the very sharp dependence of their properties on temperature, strain and magnetic fields makes them very promising quantum sensors. In this Thesis we aim at contributing to the progress of quantum technologies both at the hardware and software level. From a hardware point of view, we study a key property of defect centers in semiconductors, the phonon-assisted luminescence, which can be measured to perform the readout of the information stored in a quantum bit, or to detect temperature variations. We predict the luminescence and study the exciton-phonon couplings within a rigorous many-body perturbation theory framework,an analysis that has never been performed for defect centers.In particular, we study the optical emission of the negatively-charged boron vacancy in 2D hexagonal boron nitride, which currently stands out among defect centers in 2D materials thanks to its promise for applications in quantum information and quantum sensing. We show that phonons are responsible for the observed luminescence, which otherwise would be dark due to symmetry. We also show that the symmetry breaking induced by the static Jahn-Teller effect is not able to describe the presence of the experimentally observed peak at 1.5 eV.The knowledge of the coupling between electrons and phonons is fundamental for the accurate prediction of all the features of the photoluminescence spectrum. However, the large number of atoms in a defect supercell hinders the possibility use density functional perturbation theory to study this coupling. In this work we present a finite-differences technique to calculate the electron-phonon matrix elements, which exploits the symmetries of the defect in such a way to use the very same set of displacement needed for the calculation of phonons. The computation of electron-phonon coupling thus becomes a simple post-processing of the finite-differences phonons calculation. On the quantum software side, we propose an improved quantum algorithm to calculate the Green's function through real-time propagation, and use it to compute the retarded Green's function for the 2-, 3- and 4-site Hubbard models. This novel protocol significantly reduces the number of controlled operations when compared to those previously suggested in literature. Such reduction is quite remarkable when considering the 2-site Hubbard model, for which we show that it is possible to obtain the exact time propagation of the $\ket{N\pm 1}$ states by exponentiating one single Pauli component of the Hamiltonian, allowing us to perform the calculations on an actual superconducting quantum processor.

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Quantum information is the information of the state of a quantum system. It is the basic entity of study in quantum information theory, and can be manipulated using quantum information processing techniques. Quantum information refers to both the technical definition in terms of Von Neumann entropy and the general computational term. It is an interdisciplinary field that involves quantum mechanics, computer science, information theory, philosophy and cryptography among other fields.

Information

Information is an abstract concept that refers to that which has the power to inform. At the most fundamental level, information pertains to the interpretation (perhaps formally) of that which may be sensed, or their abstractions. Any natural process that is not completely random and any observable pattern in any medium can be said to convey some amount of information. Whereas digital signals and other data use discrete signs to convey information, other phenomena and artefacts such as analogue signals, poems, pictures, music or other sounds, and currents convey information in a more continuous form.

Symmetry

Symmetry () in everyday language refers to a sense of harmonious and beautiful proportion and balance. In mathematics, the term has a more precise definition and is usually used to refer to an object that is invariant under some transformations, such as translation, reflection, rotation, or scaling. Although these two meanings of the word can sometimes be told apart, they are intricately related, and hence are discussed together in this article.

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