Quantum mechanics exhibits a broad collection of theoretical results in complete agreement with experimental evidence. Besides showing unquestionable success in the description of isolated systems, it can be also successfully used to characterize non-isolated quantum system. In such a case, phenomena like dissipation, diffusion or decoherence. The theory of open quantum systems provides the framework where such features can be conveniently explained. This thesis is about decoherence and collapse models. Albeit conceptually they are very far from each other, they both belong the framework of open quantum systems. Indeed, they consider systems interacting with an external entity: an environment for decoherence models, a noise for collapse models. Although the external influence has different origin, they can be described by similar dynamical equations and, to confirm or falsify them, the same experimental tests can be performed. The quantum Brownian motion model can be considered the paradigm of decoherence models. We provide an exact and analytic equation for the time evolution of the operators and we show that the corresponding equation for the states is equivalent to well-known results in the literature. Our derivation allows to compute the time evolution of physically relevant quantities in a much easier way than previous formulations. Moreover, we are not bound to compute the time evolution of the state of the system, which in general is a complicated task. The explicit dependence on the initial state appears only in the initial expectation values and not in the dynamics. This makes possible the derivation of expectation values also for nontrivial states. Another decoherence model we considered is a recently proposed model, based on the mass-energy equivalence. The model describes a decoherence source acting universally on every system whose superposition is extended on positions experiencing different gravitational potentials. We studied the conditions under which this mechanism becomes the dominant decoherence effect in typical interferometric experiments. We show that current experiments are off by several orders of magnitude. New ideas are needed to achieve the necessary requirements. The second part of this thesis concerns collapse models, in particular the Continuous Spontaneous Localization (CSL) model. We focus on experimental tests that can probe it. In this respect, experiments can be grouped in two classes: interferometric tests and non-interferometric ones. The first class includes those experiments, which directly create and detect quantum superpositions of the center of mass of massive systems. The strongest bounds on the CSL parameters come from the second class of non-interferometric experiments, which are sensitive to small position displacements and detect CSL-induced diffusion in position. We investigate how we can benefit from the non-interferometric perspective given by optomechanical setups, which have reached high sensitivities as force and position sensors. Three examples are considered. First, we compute the upper bounds on the CSL parameters, which can be inferred by the gravitational wave detectors LIGO, LISA Pathfinder and AURIGA. Second, we report new results from an experiment based on a high-quality cantilever cooled to millikelvin temperature. High accuracy measurements of the cantilever thermal fluctuations reveal a nonthermal force noise of unknown origin. This excess noise is compatible with the CSL heating predicted by Adler. Several physical mechanisms able to explain the observed noise have been ruled out. Third, we propose an unattempted non-interferometric test aimed to investigate the still unexplored region of the CSL parameter space. Our proposal relies on torsional degrees of freedom rather than the usual vibrational ones. We believe that the test that has been put forward here, will eventually probe the unexplored CSL parameter space.

Open Quantum System dynamics: Applications to Decoherence and Collapse models

CARLESSO, MATTEO
2018-02-06

Abstract

Quantum mechanics exhibits a broad collection of theoretical results in complete agreement with experimental evidence. Besides showing unquestionable success in the description of isolated systems, it can be also successfully used to characterize non-isolated quantum system. In such a case, phenomena like dissipation, diffusion or decoherence. The theory of open quantum systems provides the framework where such features can be conveniently explained. This thesis is about decoherence and collapse models. Albeit conceptually they are very far from each other, they both belong the framework of open quantum systems. Indeed, they consider systems interacting with an external entity: an environment for decoherence models, a noise for collapse models. Although the external influence has different origin, they can be described by similar dynamical equations and, to confirm or falsify them, the same experimental tests can be performed. The quantum Brownian motion model can be considered the paradigm of decoherence models. We provide an exact and analytic equation for the time evolution of the operators and we show that the corresponding equation for the states is equivalent to well-known results in the literature. Our derivation allows to compute the time evolution of physically relevant quantities in a much easier way than previous formulations. Moreover, we are not bound to compute the time evolution of the state of the system, which in general is a complicated task. The explicit dependence on the initial state appears only in the initial expectation values and not in the dynamics. This makes possible the derivation of expectation values also for nontrivial states. Another decoherence model we considered is a recently proposed model, based on the mass-energy equivalence. The model describes a decoherence source acting universally on every system whose superposition is extended on positions experiencing different gravitational potentials. We studied the conditions under which this mechanism becomes the dominant decoherence effect in typical interferometric experiments. We show that current experiments are off by several orders of magnitude. New ideas are needed to achieve the necessary requirements. The second part of this thesis concerns collapse models, in particular the Continuous Spontaneous Localization (CSL) model. We focus on experimental tests that can probe it. In this respect, experiments can be grouped in two classes: interferometric tests and non-interferometric ones. The first class includes those experiments, which directly create and detect quantum superpositions of the center of mass of massive systems. The strongest bounds on the CSL parameters come from the second class of non-interferometric experiments, which are sensitive to small position displacements and detect CSL-induced diffusion in position. We investigate how we can benefit from the non-interferometric perspective given by optomechanical setups, which have reached high sensitivities as force and position sensors. Three examples are considered. First, we compute the upper bounds on the CSL parameters, which can be inferred by the gravitational wave detectors LIGO, LISA Pathfinder and AURIGA. Second, we report new results from an experiment based on a high-quality cantilever cooled to millikelvin temperature. High accuracy measurements of the cantilever thermal fluctuations reveal a nonthermal force noise of unknown origin. This excess noise is compatible with the CSL heating predicted by Adler. Several physical mechanisms able to explain the observed noise have been ruled out. Third, we propose an unattempted non-interferometric test aimed to investigate the still unexplored region of the CSL parameter space. Our proposal relies on torsional degrees of freedom rather than the usual vibrational ones. We believe that the test that has been put forward here, will eventually probe the unexplored CSL parameter space.
BASSI, ANGELO
30
2016/2017
Settore FIS/02 - Fisica Teorica, Modelli e Metodi Matematici
Università degli Studi di Trieste
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11368/2917550
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