Geodesic Paths and Topological Charges in Quantum Systems

Speaker: Tiago Grangeiro Souza

When: July 30, 2016 (Sat), 10:00AM to 11:00AM (add to my calendar)
Location: SCI 352

This event is part of the PhD Final Oral Exams.


Dissertation Committee: Anatoli Polkovnikov, Claudio Chamon, Steve Rosenberg, Shyam Erramilli, Alexander Sushkov


This dissertation focuses on one question: how should one drive an experimentally prepared state of a generic quantum system into a different target-state, simultaneously minimizing energy dissipation and maximizing the fidelity between the target and evolved-states? We develop optimal adiabatic driving protocols for general quantum systems, and show that these are geodesic paths.

Geometric ideas have always played a fundamental role in the understanding and unification of physical phenomena, and the recent discovery of topological insulators has drawn great interest to topology from the field of condensed matter physics. Here, we discuss the quantum geometric tensor, a mathematical object that encodes geometrical and topological properties of a quantum system. It is related to the fidelity susceptibility (an important quantity regarding quantum phase transitions) and to the Berry curvature, which enables topological characterization through Berry phases.

A refined understanding of the interplay between geometry and topology in quantum mechanics is of direct relevance to several emergent technologies, such as quantum computers, quantum cryptography, and quantum sensors. As a demonstration of how powerful geometric and topological ideas can become when combined, we present the results of an experiment that we recently proposed. This experimental work was done at the Google Quantum Lab, where researchers were able to visualize the topological nature of a two-qubit system in sharp detail, a startling contrast with earlier methods. To achieve this feat, the optimal protocols described in this dissertation were used, allowing for a great improvement on the experimental apparatus, without the need for technical engineering advances.

Expanding the existing literature on the quantum geometric tensor using notions from differential geometry and topology, we build on the subject nowadays known as quantum geometry. We discuss how slowly changing a parameter of a quantum system produces a measurable output of its response, merely due to its geometric nature. Next, we topologically characterize different classes of Hamiltonians using the Berry monopole charges, and establish their topological protection. Finally, we explore how such knowledge allows one to access topologically forbidden regions by adiabatically breaking and reestablishing symmetries.