Date of Degree
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Michael E. Flatte
Strong coupling of light and matter is an essential element of cavity quantum electrodynamics (cavity-QED) and quantum optics, which may lead to novel mixed states of light and matter and to applications such as quantum computation. In the strong-coupling regime, where the coupling strength exceeds the dissipation, the light-matter interaction produces a characteristic vacuum Rabi splitting. Therefore, strong coupling can be utilized as an effective coherent interface between light and matter (in the form of electron charge, spin or superconducting Cooper pairs) to achieve components of quantum information technology including quantum memory, teleportation, and quantum repeaters. Semiconductor quantum dots, nuclear spins and paramagnetic spin systems are only some of the material systems under investigation for strong coupling in solid-state physics. Mixed states of light and matter coupled via electric dipole transitions often suffer from short coherence times (nanoseconds). Even though magnetic transitions appear to be intrinsically more quantum coherent than orbital transitions, their typical coupling strengths have been estimated to be much smaller. Hence, they have been neglected for the purposes of quantum information technology.
However, we predict that strong coupling is feasible between photons and a ferromagnetic nanomagnet, due to exchange interactions that cause very large numbers of spins to coherently lock together with a significant increase in oscillator strength while still maintaining very long coherence times. In order to examine this new exciting possibility, the interaction of a ferromagnetic nanomagnet with a single photonic mode of a cavity is analyzed in a fully quantum-mechanical treatment. Exceptionally large quantum-coherent magnet-photon coupling with coupling terms in excess of several THz are predicted to be achievable in a spherical cavity of ∼ 1 mm radius with a nanomagnet of ∼ 100 nm radius and ferromagnet resonance frequency of ∼ 200 GHz. This should substantially exceed the coupling observed in solids between orbital transitions and light. Eigenstates of the nanomagnet-photon system correspond to entangled states of spin orientation and photon number over 105 values of each quantum number. Initial coherent state of definite spin and photon number evolve dynamically to produce large coherent oscillations in the microwave power with exceptionally long dephasing times of few seconds. In addition to dephasing, several decoherence mechanisms including elementary excitation of magnons and crystalline magnetic anisotropy are investigated and shown to not substantially affect coherence upto room temperature. For small nanomagnets the crystalline magnetic anisotropy of the magnet strongly localize the eigenstates in photon and spin number, quenching the potential for coherent states and for a sufficiently large nanomagnet the macrospin approximation breaks down and different domains of the nanomagnet may couple separately to the photonic mode. Thus the optimal nanomagnet size is predicted to be just below the threshold for failure of the macrospin approximation. Moreover, it is shown that initially unentangled coherent states of light (cavity field) and spin (nanomagnet spin orientation) can be phase-locked to evolve into a coherent entangled states of the system under the influence of strong coupling.
cavity quantum electrodynamics, coherence, nanomagnet, photonic cavity, quantum information, strong coupling
2, ix, 107
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