University of Basel  > Condensed Matter Theory

Florian Meier

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Initialization and read-out of spins in coupled core–shell quantum dots
J. Berezovsky, O. Gywat, F. Meier, D. Battaglia, X. Peng, and D. D. Awschalom
Nature Physics 2, 831 (2006) (doi:10.1038/nphys458)

In the field of quantum information science, semiconductor quantum dots are of significant interest for their ability to confine a single electron for use as a qubit. However, to realize the potential offered by quantum information processing, it is necessary to couple two or more qubits. In contrast to coupling individual quantum dots, we demonstrate the integration of two coupled electronic states within a single quantum dot heterostructure. These chemically-synthesized nanocrystals, known as quantum dot quantum wells (QDQWs), are comprised of concentric layers of different semiconducting materials. We investigate carrier and spin dynamics in these structures using transient absorption and time-resolved Faraday rotation measurements. By tuning the excitation and probe energies, we find that we can selectively initialize and read out spins in different coupled states within the QDQW. These results open a pathway for engineering coupled qubits within a single nanostructure.

Dynamics of Coupled Qubits Interacting with an Off-Resonant Cavity
Oliver Gywat, Florian Meier, Daniel Loss, D. D. Awschalom,
Phys. Rev. B 73, 125336 (2006); see also cond-mat/0511592.

We study a model for a pair of qubits which interact with a single off-resonant cavity mode and, in addition, exhibit a direct inter-qubit coupling. Possible realizations for such a system include coupled superconducting qubits in a line resonator as well as exciton states or electron spin states of quantum dots in a cavity. The emergent dynamical phenomena are strongly dependent on the relative energy scales of the inter-qubit coupling strength, the coupling strength between qubits and cavity mode, and the cavity mode detuning. We show that the cavity mode dispersion enables a measurement of the state of the coupled-qubit system in the perturbative regime. We discuss the effect of the direct inter-qubit interaction on a cavity-mediated two-qubit gate. Further, we show that for asymmetric coupling of the two qubits to the cavity, the direct inter-qubit coupling can be controlled optically via the ac Stark effect.

Faraday Rotation Spectroscopy of Quantum-Dot Quantum Wells
Florian Meier, David D. Awschalom,
Phys. Rev. B 71, 205315 (2005); see also cond-mat/0411429.

Time-resolved Faraday rotation studies of CdS/CdSe/CdS quantum-dot quantum wells have recently shown that the Faraday rotation angle exhibits several well-defined resonances as a function of probe energy close to the absorption edge. Here, we calculate the Faraday rotation angle from the eigenstates of the quantum-dot quantum well obtained with k.p theory. We show that the large number of narrow resonances with comparable spectral weight observed in experiment is not reproduced by the level scheme of a quantum-dot quantum well with perfect spherical symmetry. A simple model for broken spherical symmetry yields results in better qualitative agreement with experiment.

Spin dynamics and level structure of quantum-dot quantum wells
Jesse Berezovsky, Min Ouyang, Florian Meier, David D. Awschalom, David Battaglia, Xiaogang Peng,
Phys. Rev. B 71, 081309 (2005); see also cond-mat/0411181.

We have characterized CdS/CdSe/CdS quantum-dot quantum wells using time-resolved Faraday rotation (TRFR). The spin dynamics show that the electron g-factor varies as a function of quantum well width and the transverse spin lifetime of several nano-seconds is robust up to room temperature. As a function of probe energy, the amplitude of the TRFR signal shows pronounced resonances, which allow one to identify individual exciton transitions. While the TRFR data are inconsistent with the conduction and valence band level scheme of spherical quantum-dot quantum wells, a model in which broken spherical symmetry is taken into account captures the essential features.

Reduced Visibility of Rabi Oscillations in Superconducting Qubits
Florian Meier, Daniel Loss,
Phys. Rev. B 71, 094519 (2005); see also cond-mat/0408594.

Coherent Rabi oscillations between quantum states of superconducting micro-circuits have been observed in a number of experiments, albeit with a visibility which is typically much smaller than unity. Here, we show that the coherent coupling to background charge fluctuators [R.W. Simmonds et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 93, 077003 (2004)] leads to a significantly reduced visibility if the Rabi frequency is comparable to the coupling energy of micro-circuit and fluctuator. For larger Rabi frequencies, transitions to the second excited state of the superconducting micro-circuit become dominant in suppressing the Rabi oscillation visibility. We also calculate the probability for Bogoliubov quasi-particle excitations in typical Rabi oscillation experiments.

Spin-Photon Dynamics of Quantum Dots in Two-mode Cavities
Florian Meier, David D. Awschalom
Phys. Rev. B 70, 205329 (2004); see also cond-mat/0405342.

A quantum dot interacting with two resonant cavity modes is described by a two-mode Jaynes-Cummings model. Depending on the quantum dot energy level scheme, the interaction of a singly doped quantum dot with a cavity photon generates entanglement of electron spin and cavity states or allows one to implement a SWAP gate for spin and photon states. An undoped quantum dot in the same structure generates pairs of polarization entangled photons from an initial photon product state. For realistic cavity loss rates, the fidelity of these operations is of order 80%.

Molecular spintronics: Coherent spin transfer in coupled quantum dots
Florian Meier, Veronica Cerletti, Oliver Gywat, Daniel Loss, D. D. Awschalom
Phys. Rev. B 69, 195315 (2004); see also cond-mat/0401397.

Time-resolved Faraday rotation has recently demonstrated coherent transfer of electron spin between quantum dots coupled by conjugated molecules. Using a transfer Hamiltonian ansatz for the coupled quantum dots, we calculate the Faraday rotation signal as a function of the probe frequency in a pump-probe setup using neutral quantum dots. Additionally, we study the signal of one spin-polarized excess electron in the coupled dots. We show that, in both cases, the Faraday rotation angle is determined by the spin transfer probabilities and the Heisenberg spin exchange energy. By comparison of our results with experimental data, we find that the transfer matrix element for electrons in the conduction band is of order 0.08 eV and the spin transfer probabilities are of order 10%.

Quantum computing with antiferromagnetic spin clusters
Florian Meier, Jeremy Levy, Daniel Loss
Phys. Rev. B 68, 134417 (2003); see also cond-mat/0304296

We show that a wide range of spin clusters with antiferromagnetic intracluster exchange interaction allows one to define a qubit. For these spin cluster qubits, initialization, quantum gate operation, and readout are possible using the same techniques as for single spins. Quantum gate operation for the spin cluster qubit does not require control over the intracluster exchange interaction. Electric and magnetic fields necessary to effect quantum gates need only be controlled on the length scale of the spin cluster rather than the scale for a single spin. Here, we calculate the energy gap separating the logical qubit states from the next excited state and the matrix elements which determine quantum gate operation times. We discuss spin cluster qubits formed by one- and two-dimensional arrays of s=1/2 spins as well as clusters formed by spins s>1/2. We illustrate the advantages of spin cluster qubits for various suggested implementations of spin qubits and analyze the scaling of decoherence time with spin cluster size.

Magnetization transport and quantized spin conductance
Florian Meier, Daniel Loss
Phys. Rev. Lett. 90, 167204 (2003); see also cond-mat/0209521

We analyze transport of magnetization in insulating systems described by a spin Hamiltonian. The magnetization current through a quasi one-dimensional magnetic wire of finite length suspended between two bulk magnets is determined by the spin conductance which remains finite in the ballistic limit due to contact resistance. For ferromagnetic systems, magnetization transport can be viewed as transmission of magnons and the spin conductance depends on the temperature T. For antiferromagnetic isotropic spin-1/2 chains, the spin conductance is quantized in units of order $(g \mu_B)^2/h$ at T=0. Magnetization currents produce an electric field and hence can be measured directly. For magnetization transport in electric fields phenomena analogous to the Hall effect emerge.

Quantum computing with spin cluster qubits
Florian Meier, Jeremy Levy, Daniel Loss
Phys. Rev. Lett. 90, 047901 (2003); see also cond-mat/0206310

We study the low energy states of finite spin chains with isotropic (Heisenberg) and anisotropic (XY and Ising-like) exchange interaction with uniform and non-uniform coupling constants. We show that for an odd number of sites a spin cluster qubit can be defined in terms of the ground state doublet. This qubit is remarkably insensitive to the placement and coupling anisotropy of spins within the cluster. One- and two-qubit quantum gates can be generated by magnetic fields and inter-cluster exchange, and leakage during quantum gate operation is small. Spin cluster qubits inherit the long decoherence times and short gate operation times of single spins. Control of single spins is hence not necessary for the realization of universal quantum gates.

Coherent spin quantum dynamics in antiferromagnetic molecular rings
Florian Meier and Daniel Loss
Physica B 329, 1140 (2003)

Molecular magnetic clusters with antiferromagnetic exchange interaction and easy axis anisotropy belong to the most promising candidate systems for the observation of coherent spin quantum tunneling on the mesoscopic scale. We point out that both nuclear magnetic resonance and electron spin resonance on doped rings are adequate experimental techniques for the detection of coherent spin quantum tunneling in antiferromagnetic molecular rings. Although challenging, the experiments are feasible with present day techniques.

Quantum Spin Dynamics in Molecular Magnets
Michael N. Leuenberger, Florian Meier, Daniel Loss
Monatshefte für Chemie 134, 217 (2003); see also cond-mat/0205457

The detailed theoretical understanding of quantum spin dynamics in various molecular magnets is an important step on the roadway to technological applications of these systems. Quantum effects in both ferromagnetic and antiferromagnetic molecular clusters are, by now, theoretically well understood. Ferromagnetic molecular clusters allow one to study the interplay of incoherent quantum tunneling and thermally activated transitions between states with different spin orientation. The Berry phase oscillations found in Fe_8 are signatures of the quantum mechanical interference of different tunneling paths. Antiferromagnetic molecular clusters are promising candidates for the observation of coherent quantum tunneling on the mesoscopic scale. Although challenging, applications of molecular magnetic clusters for data storage and quantum data processing are within experimental reach already with present day technology.

Quantum coherent dynamics in molecular magnetic rings
A. Honecker, F. Meier, Daniel Loss, B. Normand
Eur. Phys. J. B 27, 487 (2002); see also cond-mat/0109201

We present detailed calculations of low-energy spin dynamics in the ``ferric wheel'' systems Na:Fe6 and Cs:Fe8 in a magnetic field. We compute by exact diagonalization the low-energy spectra and matrix elements for total-spin and N'eel-vector components, and thus the time-dependent correlation functions of these operators. We compare our results with semiclassical tunneling descriptions, and discuss their implications for mesoscopic quantum coherence, as well as for the experimental techniques to observe it, in molecular magnetic rings.

Thermodynamics and Spin Tunneling Dynamics in Ferric Wheels with Excess Spin
Florian Meier and Daniel Loss
Phys. Rev. B 64, 224411 (2001); see also cond-mat/0107025

We study theoretically the thermodynamic properties and spin dynamics of a class of magnetic rings closely related to ferric wheels, antiferromagnetic ring systems, in which one of the Fe (III) ions has been replaced by a dopant ion to create an excess spin. Using a coherent-state spin path integral formalism, we derive an effective action for the system in the presence of a magnetic field. We calculate the functional dependence of the magnetization and tunnel splitting on the magnetic field and show that the parameters of the spin Hamiltonian can be inferred from the magnetization curve. We study the spin dynamics in these systems and show that quantum tunneling of the Neel vector also results in tunneling of the total magnetization. Hence, the spin correlation function shows a signature of Neel vector tunneling, and electron spin resonance (ESR) techniques or AC susceptibility measurements can be used to measure both the tunneling and the decoherence rate. We compare our results with exact diagonalization studies on small ring systems. Our results can be easily generalized to a wide class of nanomagnets, such as ferritin.

Electron and Nuclear Spin Dynamics in Antiferromagnetic Molecular Rings
Florian Meier and Daniel Loss
Phys. Rev. Lett. 86, 5373 (2001); see also cond-mat/0101073

We study theoretically the spin dynamics of the ferric wheel, an antiferromagnetic molecular ring. For a single nuclear or impurity spin coupled to one of the electron spins of the ring, we calculate nuclear and electronic spin correlation functions and show that nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and electron spin resonance (ESR) techniques can be used to detect coherent tunneling of the Neel vector in these rings. The location of the NMR/ESR resonances gives the tunnel splitting and its linewidth an upper bound on the decoherence rate of the electron spin dynamics. We illustrate the experimental feasibility of our proposal with estimates for Fe_10 molecules.

Josephson tunneling between weakly interacting Bose-Einstein condensates
F. Meier and W. Zwerger
Phys. Rev. A 64, 033610 (2001); see also cond-mat/9904147

Using a tunneling Hamiltonian description, we calculate the Josephson, normal and interference currents between two Bose-Einstein condensates described by the Bogoliubov theory. The dominant Josephson term is of first order in the tunneling with a critical current density proportional to the ground state pressure. In contrast to superconductors the normal current remains finite at zero temperature. A functional integral representation of the dynamics of the relative phase is derived and estimates for an experimental realization of Josephson tunneling in cold atomic gases are given.

Anomalous condensate fluctuations in strongly interacting superfluids
F. Meier and W. Zwerger
Phys. Rev. A 60, 5133 (1999)

We show that the condensate occupation of a superfluid Bose liquid quite generally exhibits anomalously large fluctuations at finite temperatures. In three dimensions, the variance of the number N0 of particles in the condensate scales nonlinearly with volume V like T2 V4/3 at low T, generalizing the result obtained by Giorgini, Pitaevskii, and Stringari for a weakly interacting Bose gas. In two dimensions there is only a quasicondensate whose fluctuations are of the same order as the mean value.

Invited Talks
Quantum information processing using quantum dots
Isaac Newton Institute workshop "Entanglement and Transfer of Quantum Information", Cambridge (UK), September 26 - 30, 2004.

Spin based quantum computing
3rd Swiss/US Nanoforum, Basel, October 13-14, 2003.

Quantum Computing with Spin Cluster Qubits
Seminar talk at the TU Braunschweig, November 21, 2002.

Magnetization transport and quantized spin conductance
  • Seminar talk at the RWTH Aachen, October 29, 2002.
  • Seminar talk at the LMU Munich, December 19, 2002.
  • Seminar talk at the Johann-Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt, June 3, 2003.

    Electron and Nuclear Spin Dynamics in Ferric Wheels
  • Condensed Matter Seminar, Dipartimento di Fisica "A Volta", Pavia, May 18, 2001.
  • LT23, Hiroshima, Japan, August 20-27, 2002.
  • Seminar talk at the University of Stuttgart, January 14, 2003.
  • Seminar talk at the University of Osnabrück, February 4, 2003.

    Contributed Talks
    Quantum computing and mesoscopic transport - new perspectives for molecular magnets?

    Presentation at the meeting of the MOLNANOMAG network, Manchester, 13.-15.12.2002.

    Observing Mesoscopic Spin Quantum Tunneling in Ferric Wheels
  • Presentation at the midterm meeting of the MOLNANOMAG network, Paris, 13.-15.12.2001.
  • Contributed talk MA 11.10 at the 2002 Annual Meeting of the German Physical Society.

    Spin dynamics of the ferric wheel
    A tutorial presentation at the workshop "Theoretical Concepts and Techniques for Spin Clusters and Single Molecule Magnets" of the MOLNANOMAG network, Florence, 16.-19.11.00.

    Josephson-Effekte in atomaren Bose-Einstein-Kondensaten
    Contributed talk SYBE 2.7 at the 1999 Annual Meeting of the German Physical Society.

    Magnetization transport, quantized spin conductance, and spin Hall effect

    NCCR Nanoscale Science: Scientific Advisory Board Site Visit, October 20, 2003.

    Quantum computing with spin cluster qubits
    Gordon Research Conference on Quantum Information Science, Ventura, CA, March 22-28, 2003.

    Observing Mesoscopic Spin Quantum Tunneling in Ferric Wheels
    Twannberg workshop on Nanoscience, October 16-19, 2001
    International Conference on Molecule Based Magnets, Valencia, Spain, October 5-11, 2002

    Spin dynamics of the ferric wheel
    Hasliberg workshop on nanoscience 4, Hasliberg, October 16-20, 2000. 

    Scholarships and Awards
    Swiss Physical Society Award for General Physics 2004

    Maximilianeum foundation scholarship, 1994-1999

    Bavarian scholarship for highly gifted students, 1994-1999