OpenQuantum System
J. D. Close, R. Poldy, B. C. Buchler, and N. P. Robins
Department of Quantum Science,
The Research School of Physics and Engineering,
The Australian National University,
Canberra, 0200
(John.Close@anu.edu.au)
October 4, 2012
Contents
1 Introduction
3
3
8
System
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
12
12
13
15
4 OpenQuantum Systems
4.1 Composite systems and the reduced density matrix . . . . . . . .
4.2 Entanglement, decoherence and the master equation . . . . . . . .
17
18
22
5 Conclusions
28
Introduction
2
2.1
Hydrogen and hydrogenlike atoms and ions (alkali atoms and alkaliearth ions)
have been used extensively in this field, and we embark on our discussion by
considering atoms of this kind. A discussion of the spectroscopy of more complex
atoms is beyond the scope of this chapter and is not our focus. Our aim in
this early discussion is to motivate the use of a twolevel description and to
indicate how the complexity of a real atom is included in just two parameters
in the model. The twolevel systems that are used in cavity QED and in the
closely related fields, quantum optics and quantumatom optics, are diverse. They
include neutral atoms [5], highly excited Rydberg atoms [6] and ions [7], as well
as artificial atoms such as quantum dots [810] and confined Cooperpairs in
superconducting circuits [11].
In our discussion, we will ignore atomic motion, and only account for the
atoms internal energy. If our atomic Hamiltonian includes only the kinetic energy
of the electron and the 1/r2 Coulomb interaction between the valence electron and
the nucleus, the resulting energy spectrum is characterised only by the principal
quantum number n, and is given by the well known relation:
En =
2
Ze
hcR1 2
n
(1)
between states with the same principle quantum number but dierent orbital
angular momentum that are often exploited in these systems.
More subtle structure exists (termed fine structure) due to the interaction
between the electrons spin magnetic moment and its orbital angular momentum.
This interaction again is significant compared with the gross structure described
by equation (1) and is responsible for the well known D1 and D2 doublet observed in all alkali atoms. The interaction of the nuclear spin and the electron
angular momentum (hyperfine structure) is smaller and gives rise to the ground
state splitting in the alkali atoms. The splitting is on the order of 110GHz and
is exploited in the Cs atomic clock that defines the second. Applied external
magnetic and electric fields change the symmetry of the Hamiltonian and can be
used to lift the remaining degeneracy in the system.
An electron spin in an applied magnetic field has an interaction energy on
the order of 1MHz per gauss. Given that the spontaneous emission rate (and
therefore natural linewidth) of a strong dipoleallowed transition in the optical
regime is on the order tens of MHz, all the interactions listed above, including the
Zeeman eect in fields as small as ten gauss or less lead to resolvable structure
and all are important. In the case where any applied electric and magnetic fields
lead to unresolved splittings, the underlying structure can still be important in
understanding the dynamics of an atom in a driving field due to eects like optical
pumping.
Even for the simplest of atoms, the energy level structure is complicated.
Fortunately, if we understand the spectroscopy of a particular atom or ion well,
a judicious choice of polarisation of the driving electromagnetic field and the
application of external fields of appropriate symmetry allows us to couple only
two or, if desired, only three levels, and we can include the detailed and complex
structure of real atoms in just two parameters, the splitting of the two levels of
the bare (undriven) twolevel atom and the transition electricdipole moment
coupling of the atom to the driving electromagnetic field. Of course, if we wish
theorists and experimentalists to converse successfully, it is useful if both groups
are well versed in real atomic structure.
Three level atoms coupled by two fields yield beautiful physics in the form
of electromagnetically induced transparency, slow light, Raman transitions and
beam splitters for atom interferometers. An entire book could be written on this
subject. Unfortunately, we do not have space to address this physics here, and we
concentrate on the simpler but still very rich model of a twolevel atom coupled
to a driving electromagnetic field. For the twolevel atom, we label the lower of
the two energy eigenstates,
gi =
0
1
1
0
The energies of these states are Eg and Ee giving the atomic transition frequency
!a = (Ee Eg )/~, where ~ is Planks constant divided by 2. The energy dierence or the atomic transition frequency !a = (Ee Eg )/~ is the first parameter
that is taken from the spectroscopy of the atom that we are describing with this
twolevel model. A general state vector in the Schrodinger picture is:
 (t)iS = Cg (t)e
iEg t/~
gi + Ce (t)e
iEe t/~
ei
(2)
where Cg 2 and Ce 2 represent the occupation probability of the ground and
excited states. In the Schrodinger picture, the Hamiltonian for the bare atom
can be written using projection operators as:
n
o
a = 1 ~!a eihe gihg .
H
(3)
2
We have chosen the zero of energy to lie midway between the two atomic states.
This choice is arbitrary but the symmetry is appealing. The reader can check
that this is indeed the appropriate twolevel Hamiltonian by operating on the
energy eigenstates gi and ei. Later in this discussion, we will change from
the Schrodinger picture to the interaction picture. It is important, therefore, to
know how we interpret our basis states, gi and ei. We consider them to be the
Schrodinger picture states gi and ei at t = 0. This set is time independent and
forms a complete orthogonal basis.
We now consider the interaction between the twolevel atom described by
equation (3) and a classical oscillating electric field. The Hamiltonian for this
system is
=H
a + V0 cos !t.
H
(4)
V0 =
E c (
r ) defines the electric dipole interaction, where
is the dipole
moment operator. For a hydrogen like atom
= qe r where qe is the charge on
an electron and r is the position of the electron in a coordinate system where the
nucleus is at the origin. As we are treating the field classically, there is no field
term in the Hamiltonian. For a strong electric dipoleallowed transition, is on
the order of qe a0 where a0 is the Bohr radius.
We can express the interaction Hamiltonian in terms of the atomic basis
vectors by appropriately using the property eihe + gihg 1 and inserting a
complete set of states on the left and right sides of the Hamiltonian:
V =
E c (
r)
n
o
n
o
=
eihe + gihg E c (
r ) eihe + gihg
n
o
= d E c (
r ) eihg + gihe
5
where d = hegi
H = ~!a eihe
2
gihg + d E c (
r ) eihg + gihe cos !t
The calculation of the transition dipole moment matrix element is the second
parameter that requires input from real atomic spectroscopy. In addition, the
frequency of the driving electromagnetic field, polarisation of the driving field
and any applied additional magnetic and/or electric fields must be chosen so
that only two levels are coupled in the real atomic system that is being described
by this simple but very useful twolevel model. The reduction of a real system to
a twolevel description requires a detailed understanding and knowledge of real
atomic spectroscopy. It is very easy to be tricked when comparing theoretical
results based on twolevel atoms with experimental results on real atoms by
eects such as optical pumping to a third level and care must be taken in the lab
if a reasonable approximation to a twolevel atom is to be realised. That being
said, this is routinely achieved in many experiments.
With reference to figure 1, we recast the Hamiltonian in the following form:
n
o
= 1 ~! eihe gihg + 1 ~
H
2
{z
} 2
0
H
eihe
o
n
o
gihg + d E c (
r ) eihg + gihe cos !t
{z
}
V
U0 = e i(H0 )t/~
6
The reader can check that the interaction picture Hamiltonian is now:
n
o
n
o
1
i!t
i!t
where = (d E c )/~ and a is the detuning of the driving field from resonance.
Writing the timedependent cosine function as a sum of exponentials and dropping
the rapidly oscillating terms (the rotating wave approximation [13]), we arrive at
the following time independent Hamiltonian.
n
o 1 n
o
1
sys = ~
H
2
(7)
 iI = eiH0 t/~  iS
= Cg (t)gi + Ce (t)ei
(8)
The dressed eigenstates and eigenstate energies of the atom interacting with a
classical driving field are obtained by diagonalising equation (7). Both are functions of the strength of the driving field and the detuning of the field from atomic
resonance. Consider the limiting case where the atomlight coupling is set to
zero; the interactions between the atom and the light are turned o. At zero
detuning, the dressed states will be degenerate. This rather counterintuitive observation is a result of treating the driving field classically and then transforming
to the interaction picture that is rotating at the frequency of that driving field.
Although the equation correctly describes the dynamics of the twolevel atom in
the semiclassical approximation, we violate conservation of energy. On absorption, no energy is removed from the field and on stimulated emission, no energy
is added to the field.
In the full quantum picture, which will be discussed in section 3, where we
treat atoms and light quantum mechanically, we arrive at the identical result but
with an obvious explanation. An applied field with n+1 photons resonant with an
atom in the ground state is clearly degenerate with an atom in the excited state
and one less photon in the field. At nonzero detuning but still zero coupling, the
dressed states are separated by the detuning. Again the explanation in the fully
7
2.2
In the same way there exists a diverse range of atoms, there are many types of
electromagnetic resonators (cavities) used in experimental quantum and atomoptics to isolate and trap photons in dierent frequency regimes. Useful cavity
fields range from the whispering gallery modes of toroidal structures and microresonators [1416], to those of resonators using Bragg mirrors in the optical
realm [17, 18], polished mirror mircowave cavities [19, 20], as well as semiconductor heterostructures [8, 9], microwave circuits [21], and defects in nanofabricated
photonic crystals [10]. A review of much of the varied work that has been carried
out using optical cavities is given in reference [3].
The boundary conditions imposed on the electromagnetic field in sphericalmirror cavities result in resonant beams that are described by the infinite set of
HermiteGaussian modes [22]. These modes are defined by three independent
8
1/2
L
Rm 
2
w0 =
2
1
(9)
2
L
where L is the distance between the mirror centres. For cavity mirrors that are
separated by a distance much smaller than their radius of curvature (L Rm ),
the transverse radius of the beam does not vary significantly, so w(z) w(0)
w0 , and the positiondependent intracavity electric field is given by:
E(r) = Ec cos(2z/ ) exp [x2 + y 2 )/w02 ] cos !t
(10)
Here Ec is the maximum amplitude of the intracavity electric field (on axis and
at an antinode of the standing wave) and is the polarisation vector. Since
the coupling of an electric dipole allowed atomic transition to a cavitymode is
proportional to the local strength of the electric field, the coupling is maximised
for an atom on the T EM00 mode axis at an antinode of the standing wave. If the
driving field is on resonance with a cavitymode, the circulating field is enhanced
by a factor proportional to the cavity finesse in comparison with the input driving
field as we discuss in the following paragraphs.
9
As illustrated in Fig. 2, we can write down the following equations for the
amplitude of the reflected field Er , transmitted field Et , and circulating field Ec
in terms of the amplitude of the input driving field amplitude E0 :
Er = r1 E0 + ir2 t1 Ec ei
(11)
Et = it2 Ec
(12)
Ec = it1 E0 + r1 r2 Ec ei
(13)
(1 R)2
where R = r2
2 cos + R2
(14)
R1/2
.
1 R
input mirror
output mirror
nc
2L
(16)
c
.
2L
(17)
From equation (14), the fullwidth at half the maximum intensity (FWHM), , of
each resonance can be found. The finesse measures the ratio of the free spectral
range to this width:
F SR
F =
.
(18)
1. 0
R=0.1
0. 8
0. 6
R=0.5
0. 4
0. 2
R=0.99
0. 0
0. 0
0. 5
1. 0
1. 5
2. 0
2. 5
3. 0
3. 5
Figure 3: FabryPerot transmission intensity [equation (14)] over three free spectral
ranges, for a cavity formed with mirrors of poor to good reflectance R = r2 = 0.1, 0.5
and 0.99.
a maximum. There are two frequency detunings that will be important in our
description of an atom in a cavity, the detuning of the laser from the nearest (in
frequency) bare (as in no atom) cavity resonance and the detuning of the laser
from the bare (no cavity) atom resonance. We assume that resonant frequency of
only one cavitymode is sufficiently close to the bare atomic resonance to play a
significant role, and we disregard all other cavity modes. This is routinely realised
in the lab.
3
3.1
Thus far the cavityfield has been described as the isolation of a classical electromagnetic wave within an optical resonator. When dealing with small numbers of
photons and atoms in a cavity, as we often do, the quantised description of light
is necessary [13].
The quantummechanical description of the harmonic energy levels of a such
12
(19)
are the raising and lowering operators for the T EM00 respectively.
The intracavity energy density scales with the number of intracavity photons, and the singlephoton energy density is simply the photon energy, ~!c ,
divided by the cavitymode volume, Vm . The mode volume is found by integrating the cavitymode [equation (10)] over all three spatial dimensions:
1
Vm = w02 L
4
and the local electric field can be expressed as
~!c
E(r) =
0 V m
1/2
(
a+a
)U (r).
(21)
3.2
(22)
gihg
+ )
(23)
We ignore the zero point energy conventionally included in the Hamiltonian of the harmonic
field operator since it will not be important for the coupled system to be discussed shortly.
13
measures the atomic excitation. Although atoms and cavities are both resonant
systems, they are described by subtly but importantly dierent physics. The
commutation relation between the cavitymode raising and lowering operators
is identical to that of a quantum harmonic oscillator. Like a simple harmonic
quantum oscillator, the ground state of a cavitymode (no photons present) can
be raised an arbitrary number of times, and the Hilbert space describing the
mode is infinite. The ground state of a twolevel atom can be raised only once,
and the Hilbert space is 2 dimensional, one ground state and one excited state.
The raising and lowering operators for a twolevel atom display the commutation
relation given above in equation 23. A key physical consequence of the dierence
in these commutation relations is that the cavitymode does not saturate with
increasing driving field amplitude, whereas the atomic system does.
The interaction between a twolevel atom and the quantised cavity field is
illustrated by the JaynesCummings model [27]:
= 1 ~!a z + ~!
H
a a
+ ~g(r)(+ + )(
a+a
).
(24)
2
The first term describes the excitation of the twolevel atom with atomic energy
spacing, ~!a , while the second relates the occupation of a mode with equallyspaced energy levels separated by ~!. The third term once again accounts for
the coupling between these bare states with the electric field now represented
quantummechanically. The coupling term is proportional to the vacuum Rabi
frequncy g(r):
~!
g(r) =
U (r).
(25)
0 V m
A better name for this frequency may have been the single photon Rabi frequency, but some problems in quantum electrodynamics are too hard to solve,
and the name has stuck.
The Hamiltonian looks, not surprisingly, similar to the Hamiltonian we developed for a twolevel atom interacting with a classical field. Of course the
dierence is that there is a term describing the quantised light field and that the
interaction term is written now in terms of field raising and lowering operators
whereas, in the semiclassical description the coupling term was proportional to
the amplitude of the classical electric field. If the cavity field is in a coherent
state with a large expectation value, n, for the number of photons, the expectation value of both the raising and lowering operators becomes the square root of
n (for large n). The raising and lowering operators are multiplied by the vacuum
Rabi frequency and by the transition dipole moment. In this case, we recover
a coupling term very similar to our semiclassical coupling. In both cases, the
coupling is the product of the transition dipole moment and the electric field. It
is maximal at an antinode of the cavity field, and can be increased by decreasing
the cavitymode volume (bringing the mirrors closer together and decreasing the
waist size).
14
To proceed, we once again go to the interaction picture using the transformation in Eqs. 5 giving:
1
= ~!
H
a a
+ ~!z + ~
2
ca
1
a
+ ~
2
a z
+ ~g(r)(+ + )(
a+a
).
In this picture, we are rotating with the driving frequency of the system (!).
This adds terms to the Hamiltonian that account for the detuning of the atom
( a ) and the cavity ( c ) from the driving frequency. These are given by
a
c
= !a
= !c
!,
!.
ca
1
a
+ ~
2
+ ~g(r)(
a + + a
+ e2i~! + a
+ e
a z
2i~!
a
).
Employing the same rotating wave approximation that we exploited in the interaction of an atom with a classical field, we drop the terms that vary rapidly:
sys = ~
H
ca
1
a
+ ~
2
a z
+ ~g(r)(
a + + a
)
(26)
1i $ gini
As in the semiclassical case, the dressed states (atoms dressed by the photon
field) are determined by diagonalising the Hamiltonian. If we again consider
the limiting case where the atoms and light are decoupled (i.e. g(r) = 0), and
assume that the injected light is resonant with both the atom and the cavity
( a = c = 0) then we find that the dressed states are degenerate. In other
words, with all detunings set to zero, an atom in the ground state with n+1
photons in the cavitymode has the same energy as an atom in the excited state
15
with n photons in the cavitymode. If we now detune the laser from the bare
atom resonance ( a 6= 0) but keep the laser resonant with the cavity ( c = 0)
and again assume zero coupling, the energy splitting of the dressed states is the
detuning from atomic resonance exactly as it was in the semiclassical discussion
we presented earlier in this chapter. This now has a clear interpretation. An
atom in the ground state with n+ 1 photons in the cavitymode diers in energy
from an atom in the excited sate and n photons in the cavitymode because the
light is detuned, and it clearly diers by precisely the detuning. If we now turn
on the atomlight coupling, with a = c = 0 we find nondegenerate dressed
state energies given by
p
E (n) = ~g n.
(27)
In general, the dressed states are linear combinations of the bare states.
n+i = sin n
n i = cos n
(28)
c (n
1 p
1/2) ~ 4g 2 n +
2
(29)
where = ( a
a ). Figure 4 illustrates the energy splitting arising from the
interaction.
In the absence of coupling, the bare states in each 2 x 2 manifold are split by
the dierence of the atom and cavity detuning and this splitting is identical in
every manifold. This is no longer true in the presence of coupling. That is, when
the o diagonal terms in the Hamiltonian are nonzero. The splitting increases
as n increases. The set of energy levels of the dressed states is known as the
JaynesCummings ladder, and the energy of each rung depends on the photon
occupation [Equations (29) and (27)]. A photon with energy ~! is resonant with
the dressedstate transition (n 1)+i ! n i, but the addition of another
photon with the same energy, does not bring the coupled system to the next rung.
The photon is blocked from the cavity and the phenomenon is known as the
photon blockade. The anharmonic JaynesCummings ladder has been observed
experimentally with a single atoms coupled to optical [28] and microwave [29]
cavities as well as in analogous circuit QED systems, composed of a microwave
field and a superconducting qubit as an artificial twolevel atom [11].
If one knows the precise number of photons n in the system, measuring the
energysplitting of the dressedstates is a direct way to ascertain the strength of
the atomcavity coupling. In a situation on resonance, with the atom initially
excited and the cavitymode in the ground (or vacuum) state  that is to say
that there is precisely one quantum of excitation in the system  the dressed state
doublet energies are known as vacuum Rabi resonances. There has been a wealth
of experimental interest in measuring vacuum Rabi splitting in a wide range of
16
Bare Atom
2level
Empty Cavity
harmonic
Coupled
Dressed States
realworld systems. In the timedomain, the oscillations have been observed with
Rydberg atoms in microwave cavities [6], and spectroscopically Rabi splitting has
been measured in a range of stronglycoupled optical (and infrared) systems [5, 9
11, 21, 30, 31].
OpenQuantum Systems
To date in our discussion, we have assumed that the atom couples to one and
only one mode of the electromagnetic field, the T EM00 cavitymode. Of course
in reality, the atom couples to all cavity modes, but we have assumed and will
continue to assume that the T EM00 mode is the only cavitymode sufficiently
close to the atomic resonance to be significant in the problem.
Most cavities that are employed in experiments subtend a small fraction
of the full 4 solid angle as viewed by the atom. Under these conditions, the
atom can and does couple to the continuum of electromagnetic vacuum modes
resulting in spontaneously emitted photons that leave the system and do not
return. The continuum of electromagnetic modes is a reservoir and coupling
to the reservoir causes loss of coherence in the system dynamics. In addition to
spontaneous emission, photons can be lost from the cavity field by leaking through
the finite reflectivity cavity mirrors. This provides a second loss or decoherence
17
mechanism. These two loss rates are characterised by the cavity linewidth and
the spontaneous emission rate .
Cavity QED is generally separated into two regimes, those of strong and
weak coupling. These define the relative strengths of coupling within the system
and to external reservoir modes. Strong coupling is the regime where the vacuum
Rabi frequency is higher than both the spontaneous emission rate and the cavity
decay rate. A specific coupling regime can be characterised by two dimensionless
parameters, the critical photon number given below in equation (30) and the
critical atom number given in equation (31)
m0 =
N0 =
( /2)2
2g 2
=C
g2
(30)
1
(31)
4.1
We assume the reader is familiar with the density operator, the equation describing its Hamiltonian evolution and the concept of pure and mixed states. For those
readers unfamiliar with this material, excellent discussions can be found in most
graduate texts on quantum mechanics and quantum statistical mechanics (see for
example [3234]). We refer the reader to those texts and do not reproduce that
material here.
We begin our discussion by considering a composite system comprised of two
subsystems, A and B, that
The respective
n are coupled by some
o Hamiltonian.
n
o
Hilbert spaces are HA = 1iA , 2iA , 3iA , ..., iiA and HB = 1iB , 2iB , 3iB , ..., jiB .
In our case for example, the two Hilbert spaces we will consider will be the
atom/cavitymode system Hilbert space and the Hilbert space comprised of all
the other electromagnetic modes. Although the details of the reservoir Hamiltonian might not be known, the coupling rates that characterise the systemreservoir
interaction are assumed to be known, and in our case are the cavity decay rate
18
and the spontaneous emission rate . A quantum state in our composite Hilbert
space can always be written:
XX
 ki =
cij iiA jiB
(32)
i
hOi
O}
(33)
If we wish to calculate how expectation values evolve in time, we could solve for
the density operator as a function of time and use equation (33). If, as is the
case in this chapter, one of the Hilbert spaces is a reservoir with a very large or
infinite set of modes, this approach is intractable.
that acts only on subsystem A. In our
Consider however an operator, A,
case, this might be the cavitymode number operator or the atomic inversion or
the sum or product of these operators. The operator acts only on the system
Hilbert space and not on the reservoir. We emphasise here that the system
comprised of the cavitymode and the twolevel atom is one subsystem in our
composite Hilbert space, say HA . The reservoir comprised of the continuum of
electromagnetic modes is HB . We calculate the expectation value of A in the
usual way.
n o
hAi = TrAB A
XX
A jiB
=
hjB hiA Aii
i
X
i
hiA
= TrA
"
X
j
o
R A
A
hjB jiB Aii
(34)
(35)
The expectation value of A has been expressed as the trace of the reduced density
operator formed by tracing the full density operator over the reservoir. If we
can solve for the dynamics of the reduced density operator, we have gained an
enormous advantage in terms of reducing the size of the problem.
19
(36)
giA giB
giA eiB
giA eiB
eiA eiB
9
>
>
=
>
>
;
(37)
o
1 n
p 11i + 22i .
2
The density operator in the full composite Hilbert space is:
o
1n
=
11ih11 + 11ih22 + 22ih11 + 22ih22 ,
2
and the matrix representation of density operator describing the composite system is
2
3
1 0 0 1
16 0 0 0 0 7
7
= 6
(38)
24 0 0 0 0 5
1 0 0 1
As this is the full density operator describing both subsystems and this all there is
in the problem, the density operator must describe a pure state. The reader can
that acts only
check this by verifying that Tr{
2 } = 1. Consider an operator A,
on the subsystem A. The expectation value of any operator can be calculated by
20
hAi = Tr A
= h11
A11i
+ h12
A12i
+ h21
A21i
+ h22
A22i
= hgA hgB (
A)gi
A)gi
A giB + hgA heB (
A eiB
A giB + heA heB (
A eiB
+ heA hgB (
A)ei
A)ei
n
o
A
= hgA hgB giB + heB eiB Agi
n
o
A
+ heA hgB giB + heB eiB Aei
n
o
TrA R A
(39)
where R is the reduced density matrix found by tracing out the subsystem B:
n o
R = TrB
hgB giB + heB eiB
o
1n
=
giA hgA + eiA heA
2
1 1 0
=
2 0 1
(40)
The Tr{
2R } 6= 1, and the reduced density matrix above describes a mixed
state. Information has been lost by tracing over the second subsystem. Notice
that the reduced density matrix, R defined above, is a (2 2) matrix, whereas
the size of was (4 4). If subsystem B is an ndimensional space  rather than a
twolevel atom  the coupled system is represented by a (2n 2n) density matrix.
The size of the reduced density matrix, however, is still only (2 2). This is the
benefit of tracing out a subsystem or reservoir.
Coupling of a system to the environment leads to a loss of information from
the system and leads to a loss of a great deal of observed quantum behaviour.
The objective of putting an atom in a high finesse cavity in the strong coupling
regime is to isolate the system (atom/cavitymode) as much as possible from
the environment so that we can observe and exploit highly quantum behaviour
such as coherent singlephoton/singleatom dynamics. In practice, all physical
quantum systems are coupled to the environment, and all systems strictly are
open quantum systems. Of course, we can always expand our definition of the
system to include the modes of the environment, but this is not usually very
useful. We may know little, or nothing about the evolution of the reservoir
modes. There are simply too many to keep track of, and in many cases we
21
only have detailed information on the system Hamiltonian and some information
(decay rates) on the coupling of the system to the environment.
We start by deciding how much of the universe needs to be included in
the system for an adequate treatment. In choosing how much of the universe
constitutes our system, we must, for example, satisfy the Markov approximation
if we are to use the master equation to describe the system dynamics through
the reduced density matrix. The evolution of the reduced density matrix is not
as straightforward as the expression for the total system+environment. A firstorder dierential equation for the reduced density operator  describing the timeevolution of an open quantum system  is therefore needed. This is the master
equation, introduced in the following section.
4.2
Consider a system and reservoir that are initially unentangled; the full quantum
state describing the system and reservoir can be written as a direct product
of the system state vector and the reservoir state vector. If the reservoir and
system are unentangled, no information about the system is lost by tracing over
the reservoir modes, and the reduced density matrix describing the initial system
quantum state is a pure state density matrix. The reader can check this statement
by replacing the entangled state, equation (36), in our earlier discussion with an
unentangled state.
We bring the system and reservoir into contact via some Hamiltonian. We
could imagine for example that our system is a twolevel atom in its excited state,
that the reservoir is the continuum of vacuum modes of the electromagnetic field,
and that we turn on that piece of the Hamiltonian that gives rise to spontaneous
emission. Alternatively we might have a cavitymode initially populated with n
photons that can leak photons through the mirrors to the vacuum modes of the
electromagnetic field, or we might have a system comprised of a twolevel atom
coupled to a cavitymode that can leak photons by spontaneous emission and
through the cavity mirrors.
In general, bringing a system into contact with a reservoir would mean that
we allow the system and reservoir to exchange energy, particles, momentum, angular momentum or any combination of these quantities. In general, the system
becomes entangled with the reservoir through this process. As we saw in the example discussed earlier, tracing over the reservoir modes in this situation leads to
a loss of information about the system, and the reduced density matrix now describes a mixed state. The loss of information is reflected in the loss of coherence
expressed through the decay of the o diagonal terms in the density matrix.
So far, in the JaynesCummings model (26) we have discussed the intrasystem coupling between the atom and cavitymode, but not the coupling to
external modes via systemenvironment interactions. In the absence of dissipation (a closed system), the model can be solved exactly, however such a simpli22
(41)
Sometimes the inverse may be true, and independent measurement of an atoms excitationstate is used to deduce information about the presence of intracavity photons [20].
23
loss i
ef f = H
i(~ /2)
a a
(43)
no loss i
= h
=
e
h e
e
iH
e
e t/~
iH
t/~
e t/~
iH
 i
e t/~
iH

 i
t  i 1/2
h e a a
n
t
1 (i/~)H
(1
i1/2
o
(/2)
aa
t  i
P )1/2
(44)
P )
no loss ih
no loss 
(45)
Notice that there are no coherence terms in the equation for the evolution of the
density operator. This is an important point. Under this description, the system
either jumps to a state where a photon has been lost or does not. Substituting
equations (42) and (44) into equation (45) leads to the master equation describing
the evolution of the system (reduced) density operator.
d
(t) =
dt
[H, ] + (2
aa
~
2
a
a
a
a
)
(46)
The first term in the master equation describes the evolution of the reduced density matrix describing the cavitymode under the system Hamiltonian.
The second term describes the interaction with the reservoir via loss of photons
through the cavity mirrors. In the coupled atomcavity system defined by the
JaynesCummings model (26), photons can be lost from the cavitymode either
by transmission through the mirrors, with rate , or by spontaneous emission of
the twolevel atom into modes outside the cavity at a rate . Just as the probability of emission of a photon through a cavity mirror is proportional to the mean
number of photons through the photon number operator a a
, the probability of
spontaneous emission of a photon from the atom is proportional to the excited
state probability through the inversion operator + . The reader is encouraged
to repeat the derivation of the master equation including the spontaneous emission term. The master equation describing a twolevel atom interacting with a
cavitymode including loss of photons from the cavitymode through the mirror
and loss of photons via spontaneous emission is:
d
(t) =
dt
[H, ] + (2
aa
a
a
a
a
)
~
2
+ (2 + + + )
2
(47)
Figure 5: Single atom detection with an optical cavity showing (a) schematic diagram
of the cavity setup. (b) Typical photon counts for a detection event. The dashed line
indicates the threshold or discriminator for an atom detection event.
)"
nres
1 + ( )2
nres
2
= 2
+ 2
1
= "2 2
2
p +
= n0 (2 +
2 ).
c
(48)
This allows us to find a steadystate for the density matrix (47) by including
a constant pump term in the Hamiltonian, and we arrive at the driven JaynesCummings Hamiltonian:
=~
H
ca
a
+~
a +
+ ~g(
r)(
a + + a
) + ~"(
a+a
).
(49)
N0
10
0.1
S
80
60
log10(photons/s)
40
1
20
0
2
4
log10(Finesse)
Figure 6: Signal to noise ratio,S, for single atom counting for resonant atom detection
with ideal photon counting. A symmetric cavity was used in this model with a length
of 100m and a waist of 20m. The spontaneous emission rate was = 2 x 6 MHz.
Detector integration time was set at 100s.
system operators were determined from the steady state solution to the driven
Jaynes Cummings master equation that results from substituting the Hamiltonian
given above in equation (49) into the master equation given in equation (47). The
cavitymode was modelled with a truncated Fock state basis. It was assumed that
the atom flux was sufficiently low that only one atom was present in the cavity
and, in the selection of data presented here, it was further assumed that the atom
was located at the cavity waist and at an antinode.
Figure 6 shows how the signal to noise ratio varies with the incident probe
power and the flux. The dashed line in the figure traces the line of maximum
SNR. At low finesse, the atom behaves as a saturable absorber, and the probe
power decreases along the line of maximum SNR as the the finesse is increased.
This is behaviour is quite intuitive. It is reasonable to expect that in this regime,
the maximum SNR will be achieved when the intracavity field is enough to just
saturate the atom. As the finesse increases passed 3500, the behaviour changes,
and the probe power increases along the line of maximum SNR with increasing
finesse. This behaviour is not obvious. In this regime, the atom can no longer
be considered a saturable absorber. The atom signal is now due to the shift
in resonance with an atom present in the cavity. This is the same physics that
describes photon blockade.
27
Conclusions
In this chapter, we have focused on the basic physical principles behind the coupling of atoms and photons in the setting of cavity QED. Experiments in this
research field demonstrate behaviours that are inherently quantummechanical,
and a straightforward model of an openquantum system elegantly describes experimental results with charming fidelity.
More advanced but very readable and accessible treatments of cavity QED
can be found in Optical Microcavities, a collection of papers edited by Vahala
[3], and in the text Exploring the Quantum by Haroche and Raimond [37]. The
Quantum Mechanics Solver by Basdevant and Dalibard [38] and Atomic Physics
by Budker, Kimball and DeMille [39] have some excellent problems with solutions in atomic spectroscopy, twolevel atoms and their application. Introductory
Quantum Optics by Gerry and Knight gives a clear and readily accessible introduction to the quantised radiation field [13]. A more advanced treatment can be
found in the classic text by Walls and Milburn [34]. Photonics by Saleh and Teich
presents a clear exposition on cavity modes [22]. The first two chapters in Laser
Cooling and Trapping by Metcalf and van der Straten give a clear discussion of
the driven twolevel atom [40]. These are excellent resources for students or researchers new to the field. They expand on much of the material presented here,
and all are at a level similar to the level of preparation of the reader assumed in
this chapter.
We note that in the quantum optics literature there exist several comprehensive reviews of cavity QED that focus on the current status of experiments within
this discipline. In particular the reader may wish to consult references [3, 4, 41].
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31