Physics & Astronomy ETDs

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Quantum chaos is the study of quantum systems whose classical description is chaotic. How does chaos manifest itself in the quantum world? In this spirit, we study the dynamical generation of entanglement as a signature of chaos in a system of periodically kicked coupled-tops, where chaos and entanglement arise from the same physical mechanism. The long-time entanglement as a function of the position of an initially localized wave packet very closely correlates with the classical phase space surface of section -- it is nearly uniform in the chaotic sea, and reproduces the detailed structure of the regular islands. The uniform value in the chaotic sea is explained by the random state conjecture. As classically chaotic dynamics take localized distributions in phase space to random distributions, quantized versions take localized coherent states to pseudo-random states in Hilbert space. Such random states are highly entangled, with an average value near that of the maximally entangled state. For a map with global chaos, we derive that value based on new analytic results for the entropy of random states. For a mixed phase space, we use the Percival conjecture to identify a "chaotic subspace" of the Hilbert space. The typical entanglement, averaged over the unitarily invariant Haar measure in this subspace, agrees with the long-time averaged entanglement for initial states in the chaotic sea. In all cases the dynamically generated entanglement is that of a random complex vector, even though the system is time-reversal invariant, and the Floquet operator is a member of the circular orthogonal ensemble. Continuing on our journey to find the footprints of chaos in the quantum world, we explore quantum signatures of classical chaos by studying the rate of information gain in quantum tomography. The measurement record is obtained as a sequence of expectation values of a Hermitian operator evolving under repeated application of the Floquet operator of the quantum kicked top on a large ensemble of identical systems. We find an increase in the rate of information gain and hence higher fidelities in the process when the Floquet maps employed increase in chaoticity. We make predictions for the information gain using random matrix theory in the fully chaotic regime and show a remarkable agreement between the two. Finally we discuss how this approach can be used in general as a benchmark for information gain in an experimental implementation based on nonlinear dynamics of atomic spins measured weakly by the Faraday rotation of a laser probe. The last part of this thesis is devoted to the study of the nature of quantum correlations themselves. Quantum correlations are at the heart of the weirdness of quantum mechanics and at the same time serve as a resource for the potential benefits quantum information processing might provide. For example, Einstein described quantum entanglement as "spooky action at a distance" ~\cite{epr}. However, even entanglement does not fully capture the complete quantum character of a system. Quantum discord aims to fill this gap and captures essentially all the quantum correlations in a quantum state~\cite{oz02}. There is a considerable interest in the research community about quantum discord, since there is evidence showing this very quantity as responsible for the exponential speed up of a certain class of quantum algorithms over classical ones~\cite{dsc08}. Now, an important question arises: Is discord just a mathematical construct or does it have a definable physical role in information processing? This thesis provides a link between quantum discord and an actual physical task involving communication between two parties ~\cite{md10}. We present an operational interpretation of quantum discord based on the quantum state merging protocol. Quantum discord is the markup in the cost of quantum communication in the process of quantum state merging, if one discards relevant prior information. We further derive a quantitative relation between the yield of the fully quantum Slepian-Wolf protocol in the presence of noise and the quantum discord of the state involved. This protocol is the most general known in the family of protocols in quantum information theory, a unification of essentially all bipartite, unidirectional and memoryless quantum communication protocols. The significance of quantum discord in noisy versions of teleportation, super-dense coding, entanglement distillation and quantum state merging are discussed. We also demonstrate similar roles for quantum discord in quantum computation and correlation erasure. Our work shows that quantum discord captures and quantifies the advantage of quantum coherence in quantum communication.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Physics & Astronomy

First Committee Member (Chair)

Prasad, Sudhakar

Second Committee Member

Finley, Daniel

Third Committee Member

Ghose, Shohini




Quantum chaos, Quantum entanglement, Quantum computers.

Document Type