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Title: Defects in topologically ordered lattice models
Author: Brown, Benjamin James
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2013
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Developing quantum systems which are robust against noise are of prime importance to the realisation of quantum technologies. Without fault tolerance, we will never be able to preserve delicate quantum states for macroscopic time scales, a necessary requirement in the construction of scalable quantum computer. Topologically ordered models offer very beautiful mechanisms for preserving quantum states. In such models, quantum information is encoded globally over a degenerate topological Hilbert space which offers a natural robustness against local environmental noise. Remarkably, topological order is present in certain realistic condensed-matter systems. This provides a platform for accessing topological order in a laboratory. Moreover, considering condensed-matter systems enables us to combine topological features with other physical effects to enhance their behaviour. In this Thesis we study the physics of topologically ordered lattice models with defects. We seek practical applications of lattice defects for the realisation of a fault-tolerant quantum computer. The first result we present shows that anyonic data of point-like lattice defects, called twists, can be found by measuring the entanglement of the ground state of the host system. The data we learn relates to the capacity of a twist defect to perform quantum computational tasks. The second result in this Thesis concerns the dynamics of the qudit toric code model with line-like defects coupled to a thermal bath. We show we can entropically inspire fragile glassy dynamics in the system. Such dynamics qualitatively improve the coherence times of quantum information encoded in the ground state of the lattice. A novel way of achieving fault-tolerant quantum computation is by producing and manipulating twist defects of topologically ordered systems. In many ways, this paradigm of topological quantum computation is analogous to quantum computation using anyons. The first area of study in this Thesis extends the analogy between anyons and twists. Specifically, we show that the anyonic data of twists in Kitaev's toric code model can be extracted using topological entanglement entropy calculations in the same way as the same data can be extracted from anyons. We show this using a rigorously solvable lattice model as an example to produce exact analytic results. In particular, our results show we can extract the quantum dimension of a twist, and that we can study the quantum dimension of their fusion products. We compare the obtained results with the anyonic data of the Ising anyon model, further probing an analogy drawn previously in the literature. The second result presented in this Thesis shows that the application of lattice defects can introduce novel dynamics to a two-dimensional topologically ordered quantum memory where excitations carry different masses. A two-dimensional topological model which supports an anyon model with a splitting structure allowed by its fusion channels should be able to entropically achieve high-energy excitation configurations before quantum information encoded in its ground state decoheres. We introduce a grid of lattice defects to a local two-dimensional Hamiltonian model, which, when coupled to a thermal bath, will dynamically steer the excitations into high energy configurations with high probability within a suitable temperature regime. We demonstrate the proliferating dynamics using numerical simulations in a low-temperature regime where we show polynomial improvements in coherence times by increasing the system size for small system sizes, as well as coherence times which scale weakly super exponentially with the inverse temperature of the bath. The dynamics we demonstrate provide the first example of a system which entropically steers excitations into high-energy configurations. The dynamics we demonstrate may lead to the development of experimentally tractable architectures for low dimensional quantum memories. The study of thermal stability in this Thesis requires the development of methods of correcting topologically ordered lattices which have suffered errors. Namely, we require a decoding algorithm for the qudit generalisation of Kitaev's toric code. Further work presented in this Thesis compares rigorously two different decoding algorithms which use renormalisation-group techniques to process classical syndrome information about noise suffered by the topological code. In particular, we study the improvement in their thresholds as the local dimension of its physical systems increase. Our numerical results enable us to analyse and identify the limitations of the different methods of decoding.
Supervisor: Kim, Myungshik Jr; Vedral, Vlatko Jr Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available