Quantum information processing in nanostructures
Since information has been regarded as a physical entity, the field of quantum information theory has blossomed. This brings novel applications, such as quantum computation. This field has attracted the attention of numerous researchers with backgrounds ranging from computer science, mathematics and engineering, to the physical sciences. Thus, we now have an interdisciplinary field where great efforts are being made in order to build devices that should allow for the processing of information at a quantum level, and also in the understanding of the complex structure of some physical processes at a more basic level. This thesis is devoted to the theoretical study of structures at the nanometer-scale, "nanostructures," through physical processes that mainly involve the solid-state and quantum optics, in order to propose reliable schemes for the processing of quantum information. Initially, the main results of quantum information theory and quantum computation are briefly reviewed. Next, the state-of-the-art of quantum dots technology is described. In so doing, the theoretical background and the practicalities required for this thesis are introduced. A discussion of the current quantum hardware used for quantum information processing is given. In particular, the solid-state proposals to date are emphasised. A detailed prescription is given, using an optically-driven coupled quantum dot system, to reliably prepare and manipulate exciton maximally entangled Bell and Greenberger-Horne-Zeilinger (GHZ) states. Manipulation of the strength and duration of selective light-pulses needed for producing these highly entangled states provides us with crucial elements for the processing of solid-state based quantum information. The all-optical generation of states of the so-called Bell basis for a system of two quantum dots (QDs) is exploited for performing the quantum teleportation of the excitonic state of a dot in an array of three coupled QDs. Theoretical predictions suggest that several hundred single quantum bit rotations and controlled-NOT gates could be performed before decoherence of the excitonic states takes place. In addition, the exciton coherent dynamics of a coupled QD system confined within a semiconductor single mode microcavity is reported. It is shown that this system enables the control of exciton entanglement by varying the coupling strength between the optically-driven dot system and the microcavity. The exciton entanglement shows collapses and revivals for suitable amplitudes of the incident radiation field and dot-cavity coupling strengths. The results given here could offer a new approach for the control of decoherence mechanisms arising from entangled "artificial molecules." In addition to these ultrafast coherent optical control proposals, an approach for reliable implementation of quantum logic gates and long decoherence times in a QD system based on nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is given, where the nuclear resonance is controlled by the ground state "magic number" transitions of few-electron QDs in an external magnetic field. The dynamical evolution of quantum registers of arbitrary length in the presence of environmentally-induced decoherence effects is studied in detail. The cases of quantum bits (qubits) coupling individually to different environments ("independent decoherence"), and qubits interacting collectively with the same reservoir ("collective decoherence") are analysed in order to find explicit decoherence functions for any number of qubits. The decay of the coherences of the register is shown to strongly depend on the input states: this sensitivity is a characteristic of both types of coupling (collective and independent) and not only of the collective coupling, as has been reported previously. A non-trivial behaviour - "recoherence" - is found in the decay of the off-diagonal elements of the reduced density matrix in the specific situation of independent decoherence. The results lead to the identification of decoherence-free states in the collective decoherence limit. These states belong to subspaces of the system's Hilbert space that do not become entangled with the environment, making them ideal elements for the engineering of "noiseless" quantum codes. The relations between decoherence of the quantum register and computational complexity based on the new dynamical results obtained for the register density matrix are also discussed. This thesis concludes by summarising and pointing out future directions, and in particular, by discussing some biological resonant energy transfer processes that may be useful for the processing of information at a quantum level.