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Decoherence in the Production and Manipulation of Spin-Cat States

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Decoherence in the Production and Manipulation of Spin-Cat States

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School of Mathematics and Physics, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

2

Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom

(Dated: November 15, 2016)

When performing operations on a quantum state, it is commonplace to assume that these operations are

unitary. However, in practice these operations are often performed via interaction with an auxiliary quantum

system. Although it is often a good approximation to treat this auxiliary system as classical, such that the

resulting evolution is unitary, in practice there are no truly classical systems, and there will always be some

degree of entanglement between our quantum state and the auxiliary system. This entanglement can lead to

decoherence in our quantum state. In this work we study the evolution of a quantum system that has been

entangled with a single auxiliary state, and by defining the relevant generator, we show that the quantum Fisher

information of this initial auxiliary state is an excellent predictor of the resultant decoherence. Our results

are particularly relevant to spin-cat states, such as the well known N 00N state. We find that these states

are particularly susceptible to decoherence, and estimate the required auxiliary field occupation to negate this

decoherence.

PACS numbers: 37.25.+k, 03.75.Gg

I.

INTRODUCTION

Quantum metrology is the science exploiting quantum correlations to estimate a classical parameter beyond the sensitivity available in uncorrelated systems. Given a metrological scheme with access to N total particles there is an upper bound on the precision allowed by quantum mechanics,

1/N , called the Heisenberg limit [1, 2]. For a twomode interferometer with conserved total particle number,

called an SU (2) interferometer, the class of states which yield

Heisenberg limited sensitivity are spin-cat states, an example of which is the well known N 00N state, which achieves

Heisenberg limited sensitivities via a parity measurement [3

5].

As N 00N states are highly non-classical, possibly massive

superpositions, they could also find a number of applications

outside quantum metrology. In particular these states could

be well suited for testing macroscopic realism [6, 7], gravitational decoherence [8], spontaneous wavefunction collapse

theories [911] as well as realising the Greenberger, Horne

and Zeilinger (GHZ) state, which could test local hidden variable theories [12]. Optical GHZ states could also find applications in quantum communication and computation [1316].

A spin-cat state in a Bose-Einstein condensate would be

well suited to a number of these applications, particularly

metrology. However, this state has yet to be realised, due

to the immense challenge of maintaining the quantum coherence of the state [17, 18]. This is despite a number of proposed methods, previously relying on Josephson coupling between two modes [1921], collisions of bright solitons [22],

and through the atomic Kerr effect [2326]. Although the

atomic interaction times have been too small to generate spincat states, the Kerr effect has successfully been used to generate large numbers of entangled particles in Bose-Einstein

uqsnolan@uq.edu.au

realm of quantum atom-optics, with N 00N states having been

realised in modestly sized systems such as superconducting

flux qubits [31], optics [32], and in trapped ions [3335], the

latter with up to 14 particles.

In any case, to actually do anything useful with such a state,

it may be necessary to perform a unitary rotation. This could

be, for example, to prepare the state for input into an interferometer. However, unitary evolution is only an approximation,

valid when the system used to perform this operation is sufficiently large such that it can be considered classical.

In this paper we relax this approximation, and investigate

rotations caused by interaction with a quantized auxiliary system. As an example, consider a two-component atomic BoseEinstein condensate. A rotation of the state on the Blochsphere can be implemented by interaction with an optical field

via the AC Stark shift [36]. Its often the case that the number of photons in this state is sufficiently large that the quantum degrees of freedom of the light are ignored. However,

in metrology we are are often interested in quantum states

that are particularly sensitive to decoherence, such as spincat states, therefore in this paper we investigate the effect of

treating this optical field as a quantized auxiliary system.

It has been shown that in the presence of entanglement between the state and some auxiliary system, the metrological

usefulness of the state may be enhanced by allowing measurements on the auxiliary system [3743]. However in this

paper we take a different approach, and study the metrological

usefulness of a state if measurements of the auxiliary system

are forbidden. The goal is not to devise schemes to enhance

metrological sensitivity, but to study the sensitivity of quantum states (particulary spin-cat states) to this kind of decoherence.

After introducing the formalism in which we work in Section II, we demonstrate the central idea of this paper in Section

III by studying the intuitive case of a simple operator product

Hamiltonian. In this situation a number of results may be obtained analytically, which we use to understand decoherence

2

in terms of the noise properties of the initial auxiliary state.

In section IV we turn our attention to a beam-splitter Hamiltonian, which is less intuitive. In section V we introduce a

semi-classical formalism which gives us a simple picture of

this decoherence, and also an efficient means of simulating

the full composite system. Finally in section VI we apply this

method to study the limits of this decoherence, deriving the

required auxiliary field occupation to negate significant entanglement between the systems.

II.

FORMALISM

this: given an initial quantum state (0) that undergoes unitary

= exp(iG),

evolution U

how precisely can the classical

parameter be estimated? The answer is given by the quantum Cramer-Rao bound (QCRB)

which places a lower bound

on the sensitivity, i.e. 1/ F, where

F =2

X (i j )2

i,j

i + j

j i|2

|hei |G|e

(1)

(0)U

.

are the eigenvalues and eigenvectors of () = U

The QFI does not depend on the

specifically F = 4V (G).

choice of a particular measurement signal, only on the input

called the generator of .

state and the Hermitian operator G,

The system we consider in this paper is illustrated in Figure 1. We begin with some quantum state |A i, called

the probe state, which could be used to probe a classical

parameter . Before this happens the state must be prepared in some way. Ideally, this would occur by performprep on the initial state |A (0)i:

ing some unitary operation U

prep |A (0)i [Figure 1(a)]. However in practice,

|A i = U

treating this preparation step as unitary is usually an approximation, as the physical mechanism to achieve this preparation can involve entanglement with some auxiliary subsystem

prep (that is assumed to opB. In this case we replace U

AB = exp(iH

AB t/~),

erate only on subspace A) with U

which can potentially cause entanglement between subsystems A and B, and therefore cause decoherence in subsystem A when system B is ignored. In this case system A

is described by the state A = TrB {|AB ihAB |}, where

AB |A (0)i |B (0)i [Figure 1(b)].

|AB i = U

To illustrate this concept, consider the example of an optical parametric oscillator (OPO), used to create the well known

squeezed vacuum states by creating

pairs of photons via a

A = a

Hamiltonian H

a

+a

a

[36]. The physical mechanism that achieves this process involves the annihilation of

a photon of twice the frequency from a pump beam, which

we label system B. This process is described by the Hamil AB = g b a

tonian H

a

+ b

a a

. In this context, the approximation that the entanglement between the systems can

AB can be replaced with H

A is ofbe ignored such that H

in quantum metrology. A state |A (0)i is prepared unitarily for in = exp(iG

A ), i.e. the quantum

put into the interferometer U

A is valuable.

Fisher information of Uprep |A (0)i with respect to G

(b) If the preparation involves interaction with some other quantum

system, then they may become entangled. If we cannot measure anything about system B then system A is now mixed, and we have

prep |A (0)i. In

lost quantum Fisher information with respect to U

this paper we investigate this decoherence, and determine under what

circumstances scheme (b) is well approximated by scheme (a).

this is usually a good approximation, there are experimentally

accessible regimes where it becomes invalid [4850]. If we

do not permit measurements on B, then the entanglement between the two systems will result in decoherence, which we

quantify as a reduction in the QFI of the probe system FA ,

A ).

because FA 4V (G

In what follows we work in the standard formalism for

SU (2) interferometers [51], whereby our probe system consists a conserved total number of NA = h

a1 a

1 + a

2 a

2 i bosons

each in one of two modes, with bosonic annihilation operators

a

1 and a

2 respectively. Collective observables are represented

a1 a

2 )k (

a1 a

2 )T , where

as pseudo-spin operators Jk = 21 (

k is the kth Pauli matrix, hence the system is described by

the well known SU (2) algebra. The auxiliary system has a

mean field occupation of h

nB i = NB bosons, which for simplicity are confined to a single mode b, with number operator

n

B = bb.

In the absence of quantum correlations between particles,

an ensemble of two-level particles is well described by a coherent spin-state (CSS) [52, 53], which can be thought of as

a rotation of the maximal Jz eigenstate: |CSSi = |, i =

)|NA , 0i where (up to a global phase) R(,

) is the

R(,

rotation operator,

) = eiJz eiJx ,

R(,

(2)

Coherent spin-states have the useful property that they are

an extreme eigenstate of the rotated pseudo-spin operator

(, )Jz R(,

) = Jz cos() + [Jx sin() +

J, = R

3

Jy cos()] sin().

We are interested in a class of states called spin-cat (SC)

states, which are an equal superposition of opposite coherent

spin-states, i.e. the maximum and minimum J, eigenstates,

1

|SCi = (|maxi + ei |mini).

2

(3)

A =

QFI for an SU (2) interferometer, FA = NA2 , so long as G

J, . In contrast, coherent spin-states are shot-noise limited,

A = J, .

with FA NA with respect to G

[54, 55]. N 00N states are particularly relevant as many experiments would be limited to performing measurements on

the probe system in the number basis. However another relevant basis is Jy , as it is straight forward to show that the well

known one axis twisting interaction will eventually lead to a

spin-cat in the Jy basis, i.e. |SCi = exp(iJz2 /2)|/2, 0i.

III.

SEPARABLE INTERACTIONS

Hamiltonian between systems A and B is a separable tensor

product of operators acting on each Hilbert space. Specifically,

AB = ~g H

A G

B .

H

(4)

A is required in the state preparation of system A, but is

H

B acting on subspace

moderated by the Hermitian operator G

B.

A.

|A (0)i |B (0)i, in terms of the dimensionless time = gt

the evolved state is

X

|AB ( )i =

cm |mi eim GB |B (0)i .

(5)

m

A,

In terms of the eigenstates |mi and eigenvalues m of H

the reduced density matrix A = TrB {|AB ( )ihAB ( )|}

takes the simple form

X

A ( ) =

cm cn Cm,n ( )|mihn| ,

(6)

m,n

(7)

is responsible for the decay of the off-diagonal terms of A .

auxiliary system B.

If Cm,n = 1 then A remains pure, and if Cm,n = m,n

then A is a completely incoherent mixture of eigenstates

|mihm|. More generally the relationship between the purity

of the probe system = Tr{(

A )2 } and Cm,n is

X

=

|cm |2 |cn |2 |Cm,n |2 .

(8)

m,n

As we are interested in maintaining states with high values of FA , we are particularly interested in the magnitude of

|Cm,n |2 , as states with lower purity usually have reduced QFI.

Expanding the magnitude of Cm,n to second order in even

powers of m,n = (m n ) (odd powers do not contribute) reveals a link between the QFI of the auxiliary system

B and the resultant decoherence in the probe

with respect to G

system:

|Cm,n |2 = 1

FB 2

+ O(4m,n ),

4 m,n

(9)

where FB = 4V (G

=

measuring some classical parameter under evolution U

as being the relevant parameter to predict the decay of the offdiagonal matrix elements of A .

Such an identification is particularly intuitive for considering the role of |B (0)i in the decoherence of system A: if one

considers the possibility that the outgoing state of system B

could be measured by an observer, then if this state carries information which can distinguish between the eigenvalues m

and n , we no longer expect there to be a coherent superposition of these components. The interaction with system B

effectively measured system A. That is, states with high QFI

with respect to their ability to estimate the physical observable

A cause the most rapid decoherence.

corresponding to H

Even if Cm,n is known, calculating the QFI of the probe

system requires diagonalization of the reduced density matrix [see Eq. (1)]. Fortunately for evolution under a separable

Hamiltonian, some simple analytic results exist for some initial states. For any state that is initially a spin-cat state of

A eigenstates, there is a simple relationship

extreme J, = H

between the probe QFI and the purity of the reduced density

matrix:

FA = NA2 (2 1) ,

(10)

=

1

1 + |Cmax |2 ,

2

(11)

where Cmax = CNA +1,1 = (C1,NA +1 ) is the extreme offdiagonal term of the coherence matrix, i.e. for a spin-cat in

J, , the QFI of the auxiliary system depends only on the purity of A , which at least for short times depends only on the

QFI of the initial auxiliary state |B (0)i, i.e. FA is a function

only of FB and time.

4

From these relations, to second order in |Cmax |2 [Eq. (9)

with m n = NA ] we have

1

exp FB NA2 2

(12)

8

and

1

FA NA2 exp FB NA2 2 .

4

(13)

Although these relations only hold for small time, they do not

assume anything about the input state of the auxiliary system.

A = H

A and purity

For any |B (0)i, the QFI with respect to G

FB and time squared, at a rate proportional to NA2 , as one

might expect for a state capable of reaching the Heisenberg

limit. This kind of scaling has been seen in previous studies

of Heisenberg limited states under decoherence [17, 18], but

not in this context.

B.

An Example

A = Jz rotation, specifically

after evolution under a H

AB = ~g Jz n

H

B .

(14)

instance superconducting qubits coupled to a microwave cavity [5658], or the weak probing of an ensemble of two-level

atoms with light detuned far from resonance [30, 37, 42, 59

66]. This Hamiltonian generates a Jz rotation, which corresponds to a relative phase being imparted between the two levels available to the probe system. Although we are agnostic

about the specific system being studied, for convenience we

will adopt the language of atom-light interactions, and will

often refer to the quanta of the auxiliary field as photons.

An interaction of the form Eq. (14) leads to entanglement

between the Jz spin projection of system A and the the phase

of system B, as n

B is the generator of phase. Identifying

B = n

G

B , it is immediately obvious that the optimal choice

for |B (0)i is a Fock state, (i.e. an n

B eigenstate) as this

state has FB = 4V (

nB ) = 0, and the operation can be performed without generating any entanglement between the systems, i.e. |Cm,n |2 = 1, which is illustrated in Figure 2. This

is consistent with our view of system B carrying away information about Jz , as Fock states have entirely undefined phase,

so cannot be used to make a measurement via the interaction

Eq. (14). However, as Fock states are difficult to engineer, it

is important to consider the behaviour of other states.

Throughout this paper we will focus on commonly accessible states such as Glauber coherent states and quadrature

squeezed states, which have the form

|B (0)i = D()

S(r)|0i

,

(15)

where D()

= exp(b b) is the coherent displacement

operator with coherent amplitude , S = exp[r(b2 (b )2 )/2]

parameter r and optical vacuum |0i. In particular we focus on three cases, the Glauber-coherent state (r = 0), the

amplitude squeezed state (r > 0) and the phase squeezed

state (r < 0), which, for a fixed mean photon number, have

phase

amplitude

coherent

FB

> FB

> FB

.

It is possible to evaluate the coherence matrix [Eq. (7)] an A = Jz the

alytically for these states. Because we have H

spin-cat states that obey the relations Eq. (10) and Eq. (11)

A = Jz has integer

are N 00N states. The generator G

eigenvalues, and so we make the substitution m n =

m n. For simplicity we will restrict ourselves to real ,

although it is not necessary to do so. By observing that

0 )S(r

0 )|0i, where

exp[i(m n)

nB ]D()

S(r)|0i

= D(

0 = exp[i(m n) ] and r0 = r exp[2i(m n) ], the

problem is reduced to evaluating the overlap of two squeezed

coherent states, see for instance [67, 68]. We obtain

2

[1+coth(r)][ei(mn) 1]

exp

ei(mn) +coth(r)

Cmn (, r, ) = q

, (16)

cosh2 (r) e2i(mn) sinh2 (r)

as the coherence matrix for a squeezed coherent state.

For completeness we also provide the result for a Glaubercoherent state, obtained by simply taking the limit r 0,

h

i

Cmn (, ) = exp NB ei(mn) 1 .

(17)

Evaluating the coherence matrix analytically for a squeezed

coherent input state allows us to extend the short time results presented in the previous section to longer times. For

B = n

|A (0)i = |N 00N i with generator G

B [not, for in =n

stance G

B /NB which we consider in Figure 3 (b),(c)],

when 2 >> sinh2 (r) we obtain

1

FA NA2 exp

FB [cos (NA ) 1] .

(18)

2

Expanding this to second order in NA recovers Eq. (13), but

this expression also predicts revivals in the QFI. Because this

result was derived from Cmn (, r, ), we emphasize that unlike Eq. (13) it is not general in |B (0)i, it only holds for

squeezed coherent states and Fock states, the latter simply because FB = 0.

In Figure 2 we show the probe QFI and purity for a N 00N

state compared to a coherent spin-state, for a number of input

states. It is evident that coherent spin-states are more robust

to this kind of decoherence. As we have shown, the QFI of

N 00N states decays exponentially a rate directly proportional

to NA2 , which is clearly not the case for coherent spin-states

[see Eq. (12) and Eq. (13)]. Though we do not have analytic

results for the purity or QFI for a CSS, the general result of

Eq. (9) motivates us to believe for short time at least the QFI

should still correctly predict decoherence, and Figure 2 (a),

(b) indicates that this is the case.

In Figure 3 we demonstrate that FB remains an excellent

predictor of decoherence where simple analytic expressions

Fock

coherent

amplitude

phase

0.5

0

0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

(b)

FA /NA

(a)

0

0

0.5

0.5

FA /NA2

0.2

0.3

(c)

0.4

0.5

(d)

0.5

0.5

0

0

0

0

0.1

1

1

0.5

0.5

0.01

0.1

0.02

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

0

0

0.01

0.1

0.2

0.02

0.3

0.4

0.5

FIG. 2. (Color online). Time evolution of probe quantum Fisher information FA and purity as a function of time, for a variety of initial

states with average particle number NA = 20 and NB = 100. Plots (a),(b) have initial CSS |A (0)i = |/2, 0i and (c), (d) have |A (0)i =

|N 00N i. Note that the normalization of FA is different for (a) compared to (c). Insets in (c), (d) show short evolution times. Each plot also

varies the initial auxiliary state for the cases discussed in the text, i.e. a Glauber-coherent state (solid black), an amplitude squeezed state with

r = 1 (dashed blue), a phase squeezed state with r = 1 (dashed red) and a Fock state (magenta asterisks); the Fock states have been included

for completeness, although they have FB = 0 so no coherence is lost. For all auxiliary input states we chose to be real.

are unavailable. In Figure 3 (a) we plot the QFI as a function of time for a CSS for three different input states, resulting in identical dynamics even for large times. This seems

to indicate that our results are not restricted to spin-cat states.

Up until now we have neglected the contribution of n

B to the

magnitude of the rotation, i.e. to rotate the state about Jz by

some angle we require an interaction time = /NB . This

must be taken into account in order to meaningfully compare

the ability of different states |B (0)i to perform some fixed

rotation , so in Figure 3 (b), (c) we take our generator to

B = n

be G

B /NB . In this case our full expression for FA

[Eq. (18)] does not hold, and although it is straight-forward to

obtain a more general expression from the coherence matrix,

it is not particularly enlightening. Because FB (r) is not oneto-one, when the state is over squeezed there is a turning point

in Figure 3 (b), (c). We also see revivals which are predicted

by Eq. (18). These revivals occur as a result of the quantisation of the fields, for instance, if |A (0)i = |N 00N i they will

occur when = 2k/NA where k = 1, 2, 3....

Within the limitations discussed above, FB entirely determines the subsequent dynamics. The starting point for this en B , which we were

tire analysis was identifying an operator G

able to do because the reduced density matrix could be written

in terms of Cmn [Eq. (6)], which was a direct consequence

of the operator product form the Hamiltonian. We now turn

our attention to a beam-splitter Hamiltonian, where this is not

the case.

IV.

NON-SEPARABLE INTERACTIONS

(BEAM-SPLITTER)

A kind of interaction highly relevant to quantum metrology is an atomic beam-splitter; a non-photon conserving process that transfers population between our atomic modes. A

common method for atomic interferometry is a Mach-Zehnder

interferometer, which may be realised by performing two of

these pulses, separated by a phase shift. This kind of evolution

is also highly relevant to the preparation of spin-cat states, for

instance it may be useful to rotate a Jy spin-cat state, perhaps

generated via the atomic Kerr effect, to a N 00N state, which

would require a rotation about Jx . If we perform this rotation

without assuming classical light, how might this decohere our

atomic system?

the creation or annihilation of a photon, the number of photons in the optical beam carries information about the number of transferred atoms, thus destroying the coherence of the

superposition. This will be particularly relevant when creating N 00N states, as the creation of this state results in the

creation of NA /2 photons which, depending on the initial state, may be easily distinguishable. If the Hamiltonian

for this process is not separable, i.e of the form Eq. (4), can

we identify a generator and corresponding Fisher information

which is a useful predictor for this decoherence?

6

Before throwing away these terms, the interaction part of

the Hamiltonian can be written as Hint = ~g Jx (b + b )

which certainly looks separable, however the evolution caused

0 = ~

by H

nB + 12 ~0 Jz cannot be neglected. Moving into

the interaction picture allows us to evolve the initial state for int only, but transforming this Hamilward in time under H

tonian into the interaction picture, and integrating the resultant interaction picture Hamiltonian in time gives rise to nonseparable evolution.

However, moving into the interaction picture reveals that

quantities such as the purity of the reduced density matrix,

and expectation values of any observable that commutes with

A = Jz ) are unchanged by evoJz (such as the QFI with G

lution under H0 . So long as we are only interested in calcu 0 and the interaction and

lating these quantities, we neglect H

Schrodinger pictures coincide with

AB = ~g X

Jx + Y Jy

H

(20)

F A /NA

1

coherent

amplitude

phase

0.5

0

0

0.2

0.4

(a)

0.6

0.8

F A /NA2

1

(b)

0.5

0

4

10

10

FB

10

10

10

F A /NA

1

0.5

(c)

1.r = 0

2.r = 0.2

3.r = 0.2

4.||2 = 100

0

4

10

10

FB

10

10

10

we plot the QFI for the CSS |A (0)i = |/2, 0i for three different

initial states, all with FB = 100. We evolve

from different auxiliary

states, a Glauber-coherent state with

= 25, (solid black), an amplitude squeezed state with = 50, r 0.352 (blue asterisk), and

a phase squeezed state with = 20, r 0.111 (red circles). In

(b) and (c) we plot FA against FB for a N 00N state (b), normalized

2

, and CSS (c), normalized to NA . The QFI of the auxiliary

to NA

system is varied in different ways for a number of initial states, (1-3)

varying ||2 and (4) varying r, both with arg() = 0. Each point

was evolved for a fixed rotation angle = NB (, r) = and as

such in (b),(c) we take FB = 4V (

nB /NB ). Arrow indicates oversqueezed regime.

A.

= b +

which we call the beam-splitter Hamiltonian, where X

b and Y = i(b b ) are the standard optical amplitude

and phase quadratures. To arrive at this Hamiltonian we have

assumed the field is on resonance = 0 and have made the

rotating wave approximation.

As in Section II, retaining a quantized description of the

auxiliary system introduces decoherence to the evolution. Figure 4 shows the QFI and the purity of a Jy spin-cat state

(|SCi) being rotated by a quantized beam-splitter [Eq. (20)]

against the evolution time, parameterized by the beam-splitter

angle = 2|| , compared to evolution under a classical

classical = exp(iJx ), obtained by taking

beam-splitter U

the classical limit for the optical field b . We see that

as ||2 becomes large, the full evolution approximates a classical beam-splitter.

The fully quantized Hamiltonian for an atomic beamsplitter generated from atom-light interaction is the TavisCummings Hamiltonian, which describes an ensemble of NA ,

two-level atoms (with energy difference ~0 = E2 E1 )

interacting with a single mode optical field of frequency

through dipole coupling [69],

1

HAB =~

nB + ~0 Jz +

2

1

+ ~g J+ + J b + b .

2

(19)

light, the interaction term would simply result in a rotation

about Jx = 21 (J+ + J ).

In typical experimental systems the field is close to resonance, 0 and the coupling g is small compared to

0 , . Therefore the rotating wave approximation is often

made, and it is a good approximation to neglect the energy

non-conserving terms J+b and Jb.

B.

Identifying a Generator

time-evolution for system B was an excellent tool for predicting decoherence. However, the difficulty with using this

approach for decoherence introduced under the beam-splitter

Hamiltonian [Eq. (20)], is that because the evolution is not

separable, the reduced density matrix cannot be written in the

form of Eq. (6). This means it is unclear how to identify a

generator for the auxiliary system. Clearly under the beam and Y are

splitter Hamiltonian the optical field quadratures X

responsible for generating the atom-light entanglement, however the basis in which the off-diagonal density matrix elements will decay depends on the argument of the coherent

amplitude . To isolate the role of the quantum fluctuations

in each quadrature, we make the approximation that quantum

fluctuations in one of the quadratures is negligible. Specifically, restricting ourselves to light with real coherent amplitude , we compare the full quantum evolution [Eq. (20)] to

two cases:

7

=

10

100

0.8

0.8

0.6

0.6

0.6

0.4

0.4

0.4

0.2

0.2

0.2

F /NA2

Fmax/NA2

0.8

0

0

0.5

1

/

1.5

0

0

0.5

1

/

1.5

0

0

0.5

1000

1

/

1.5

FIG. 4. (Color online). Loss of QFI and purity from evolution under Eq. (20) as a function of time (normalized to the beam-splitter angle

A = Jz ,

= 2|| ), for |A (0)i = |N 00N i with NA = 20 and |B (0)i = |i, with arg() = 0. The QFI is calculated with respect to G

such that after a /2 rotation about the Jx axis the state approaches the QFI for a N00N state. Fmax is the QFI of the probe system in the

limit of classical light, i.e. as the coherent amplitude becomes sufficiently large that we may substitute b in the beam-splitter Hamiltonian

[Eq. (20)].

1

F /NA2

(a)

0.5

0

0

0.5

1

/

F max

analytic

)

F A (U

X )

F A (U

(b)

F /NA2

1.5

0.5

Y )

F A (U

0

2

beam-splitter angle = 2|| for each case with |B (0)i = |i,

and bottom: QFI as a function of squeezing magnitude.The system

was simulated exactly for NA = 20 atoms and = 100 for an

initial Jy spin-cat state, rotated about the Jx axis. Both plots are

a comparison of the fully quantized evolution [Eq. (20)] to the two

cases classical X and classical Y. As in Figure 4, Fmax is the

QFI due to the rotation only, without decoherence. In (b) we fix

= /2 (the optimum value) and vary r. The magenta circles are an

analytic calculation [Eq. (26)], based off the approximate generator

B Y /hXi.

h

i

X = exp i X

Jx + hY iJy =

Classical Y : U

h

i

Jx

exp iX

h

i

Y = exp i hXi

Jx + Y Jy

Classical X: U

i.e. Eq. (20) with the substitution Y hY i = 2Im() = 0

X and X

hXi

= 2 for U

Y .

for U

X and U

Y . For compariEq. (20) compared to the two cases U

classical = exp(iJx )

for a Jy spin-cat state evolved under U

which imparts no decoherence, therefore FA < Fmax . FigX agrees well with the classical evoure 5 (a) indicates that U

lution and has only a small impact on the coherence, and that

Y agrees well with the evolution due to Eq. (20). Figure 5

U

(b) varies the squeezing parameter r at the optimum beamsplitter angle = 2|| = /2, and shows good agreement

with the outcome of Figure 5 (a) for moderate |r|, i.e. that

fluctuations in Y are predominantly responsible for the decoherence. This picture breaks down for highly phase squeezed

initial auxiliary states, and it becomes important to consider

rather than Y to correctly describe

quantum fluctuations in X

the system.

Motivated by Figure 5 we continue by studying evolution

Y only. Ignoring the quantum fluctuations in X

allows

under U

us to define the

qcommuting operators = arctan(Y /hXi)

2 , such that

and = hXi

1 + (Y /hXi)

(21)

Evaluating expectation values withrespect to a squeezed co = 2|| 2 NB if ||2 >> sinh2 (r).

herent state gives hXi

to first order, giving

Thus for large NB we expand in 1/hXi

and hXi

. This decouples the part of

Y /hXi

the Hamiltonian which generates entanglement from the part

that generates the rotation.

Restricting ourselves to an initial state |A (0)i = |SCi,

and = /2, we note that exp(iJz ) will cause dephasing of

off-diagonal terms in the Jz basis. The exp(iJx ) term will

then rotate this state such that it is approximately aligned with

the maximal and minimal Jz eigenstates, before it undergoes

further decoherence due to exp(iJz ). For NA 1, if

the fluctuations in are much less than 1, then this second

dephasing process will be much more significant than the first,

as the off-diagonal terms are significantly more separated after

the /2 rotation. As such, it is a reasonable approximation to

neglect the effect of the first dephasing step, and in terms of

8

the pseudo-spin eigenspectrum J |m; i =

m |m; i with

= x, y, z, the reduced density matrix of system A becomes

X

z

A ()

cm0 (cn0 ) Am,m0 (An,n0 ) Cmn

(22)

m,m0 ,n,n0

x

where cj = hj; x|A (0)i is this initial sate in the Jx eigenbasis and Aj,k = hj; z|k; xi is a change of basis. In analogy to

Eq. (7) we identify (using zj = j)

z

Cmn

= hB (0)|ei(mn)Y /hXi |B (0)i

(23)

As an example, for Glauber-coherent states (with real)

(m n)2

z

(24)

Cmn () = exp

8NB

Now, proceeding as in Section III we can identify the QFI for

B ) with

the auxiliary system as FB = 4V (G

B Y /hXi.

(25)

that increasing the number of photons used to implement the

beamsplitter reduces the decoherence. A qualitative explanation for this is, if the initial state contains a large number of

photons, it is more difficult to distinguish the creation or annihilation of NA /2 photons. Conversely, a Fock state has

= 0, indicating that it has a

V (Y ) = 2NB + 1, and hXi

very high QFI and will cause extremely rapid decoherence.

Again, this fits with our intuitive picture, as the creation or

annihilation of one photon from a Fock state is immediately

distinguishable, indicating that it cannot be used to create a

coherent superposition of atomic population. The genera B Y /hXi

also indicates that phase squeezed states

tor G

should cause less decoherence than amplitude squeezed states.

Ifwe are restricted

to rotations = /2, such that

matrix takes the form of Eq. (6), and the results obtained in

B = Y /hXi.

We

Section III can be applied here but with G

have

1

FA =

NA2 exp FB NA2 ,

(26)

2

4

which although similar to Eq. (13), does not depend on

time as we have fixed . The purity can be obtained from

Eq. (10). This result agrees well to the exact (numeric) evolution, shown in Figure 5, indicating that the generator is well

B Y /hXi.

approximated by G

found that it was an excellent approximation in most regimes

to neglect the quantum fluctuations in one quadrature, which

allowed us to treat the interaction as separable such that we

could identify a generator for system B. Here we present an

approximate approach to studying decoherence arising from

the entanglement of a probe with an auxiliary quantum field.

This approach does not require us to neglect quantum fluctua or Y to identify a generator, and also affords us an

tions in X

efficient way of simulating the system numerically. We take

advantage of this in Section VI, where we use this method to

explore the required auxiliary field occupation to negate decoherence arising from the entanglement between the systems.

This is done by approximating the reduced density matrix

as an average over an ensemble of noisy classical variables

X, which have some distribution function P (X). For the

two rotations we study, it is useful to choose these to be the

Bloch sphere angles X = {} for the separable Hamiltonian

or X = {, } for the beam-splitter Hamiltonian. Generally,

the reduced density matrix takes the form,

Z

(X)|A (0)ihA (0)|U

(X).

A dXP (X)U

(27)

This approach has a number uses, for instance it is simple in

this picture to study the effects of entanglement generated by

and Y simultaneously. However most usefully, it is only

X

ever necessary to manipulate matrices which belong to the

probe vector space, rather than constructing and evolving the

full dim(A) dim(B) state before performing a partial trace

to obtain A , which rapidly becomes intractable even for modest particle numbers.

Jz Rotation

A.

the results presented in Section III. As we have alluded to, decoherence under the separable Hamiltonian [Eq. (14)] can be

understood by averaging over a single parameter X = {}

() = exp(iJz ), with the noise properties of rewith U

lated to the quantum fluctuations of the operator = n

B . In

the Jz eigenbasis this gives the reduced density matrix

Z

X

A

cm cn dP ()ei(mn) |mihn|.

(28)

m,n

R

If we identify Cmn = dP ()ei(mn) , this has the

same form as Eq. (6). If we assume P () is Gaussian with

mean and standard deviation , then we can evaluate this

integral to obtain

z

V.

DECOHERENCE

by evolving the full quantum state |AB i, which becomes

z 2

z

Cm,n

= ei(m n ) e 2 (m n )

(29)

eigenbasis. For coherent light, this expression agrees with

= ||2 and 2 = V ()

=

Eq. (17) by identifying = hi

9

||2 2 , which is seen easily by expanding exp[i(zm zn ) ]

to second order in .

We have identified FB = 4V (

nB ) which tells us that

B = n

G

B and so we associate with the mean and noise

properties of the operator n

B . Although this description cor B it is only approximate, and because we

rectly predicts G

have neglected the quantisation of the photon field it will not

capture the revivals seen in Figure 2 (c) or (d).

B.

Beam-Splitter

generated by evolution under the beam-splitter Hamiltonian

[Eq. (20)]. As in Section IV B we study the approximate ro (, ) = exp(iJz ) exp(iJx ), identifying X =

tation U

{, }. Again, we assume the distribution functions for and

, P (, ) = Q()Q() are Gaussian. We interpret (, ) as

the azimuthal and elevation Bloch sphere angles respectively,

and identify

cos()

(30)

sin()

Y =

and 2 = V (X)

(with analogous relations for Y ),

X = hXi

X

which imply that the angles are related to the coherent amplitude of the light, with = 2|| and = arg(). In the inset

of Figure 7 we compare this method to an exact calculation

for small NA , and find excellent agreement.

Following a procedure similar to that in Section V A we

arrive at the reduced density matrix,

X

cxm0 (cxn0 ) Am,m0 (An,n0 )

(31)

A

X=

m,m0 ,n,n0

z

x

Cm,n

(, )Cm

0 ,n0 (, )|m, zihn, z|,

which is of form of Eq. (22), with the difference that the phase

x

factor has been replaced by Cm

0 ,n0 which directly causes decay of the off-diagonal matrix elements in the Jx eigenbasis

x

z

also. Both Cj,k

, Cj,k

have the same form as Eq. (29), but in

terms of the relevant classical variable.

The reduced density matrix Eq. (31) with the relations

Eq. (30) afford us an understanding of decoherence in terms

and Y .

of the noise properties of the optical quadratures X

If is real, we set = 0, (which corresponds to performing our rotations about Jx only) we obtain the following noise

relations

2

2 =

2 =

V (X)

2

4||

V (Y )

(32)

4||2

Observing that hXi

Eq. (25) that the generator responsible for decay of the offz

diagonal matrix elements of A in the Jz eigenbasis is G

B

x X/h

Xi,

as

Y /hXi,

B

the generator of decay in the Jx eigenbasis. However, Figure 5

indicates that for the rotation of a Jy spin-cat state about Jx ,

noise in Y dominates.

VI.

MITIGATING DECOHERENCE

In Figure 4, it is apparent that as increases, FA approaches the classical limit. This agrees with the result that

z Y /hXi,

with hXi

= 2|| and

FB = 1/||2 , as G

B

in Figure 3 (b) and (c), when comparing FA for a fixed rotation angle = NB the decoherence vanishes as FB =

4V (

nB )/NB2 1/NB goes to zero, which corresponds to the

limit of large photon number. Motivated by these observations, here we study the following question: given evolution

under either of the entangling Hamiltonians we have considered, what is the required auxiliary field occupation to mitigate decoherence in the probe system?

More specifically, we calculate the required NB , such that

after rotating the probe state by a fixed angle the probe QFI has

at least FA = NA2 /2, which we will call NBT F S . This is the

QFI of the twin-Fock state, defined |T F Si = |NA /2, NA /2i

A = Jy . Our motivation for this metric is

with respect to G

that twin-Fock states are far less exotic than spin-cat states,

and can be realized simply by a projective measurement in

the Jz basis. Superpositions of twin-Fock states also have

FA NA2 /2, and can be manufactured via any pair-wise particle creation process, such as four-wave mixing [70, 71] and

spin-exchange collisions [7275]. Although a TFS would be

less attractive than a N 00N state for a number of fundamental tests, it is an excellent candidate for quantum metrology. If

one had a spin-cat state, and were unable to maintain the QFI

above what could be achieved with a twin-Fock state (which

is much simpler to create), it would be much less challenging

to simply use the latter.

A.

Jz Rotation

HAB = ~g Jz n

B , this is our starting point. From Eq. (13),

making the substitution = /NB we obtain

NBT F S [|N 00N i]

2 e2r 2

N ,

log(2) A

(33)

Although this does not explicitly depend on FB , as expected

states with larger FB per photon (for instance phase squeezed

states) would require more photons to perform this rotation

while maintaining FA NA2 /2.

This scaling is intuitive if we consider that the information

relating to the Jz projection of system A is encoded onto |B i

as a phase shift. In order to maintain coherence between the

maximal and minimal Jz eigenstates, we require this information be hidden in the quantum fluctuations of the phase

10

1000

coherent

amplitude

phase

15

800

0.5

NBT F S

0

0

30

NBT F S

10

5

FA /NA2

(a)

20

NBTF S

600

10

NA

20

400

200

coherent

amplitude

phase

(b)

20

0

0

coherent

amplitude

phase

200

400

600

NA

800

1000

10

0

0

20

40

60

80

100

NA

FIG. 6. (Color online). (a) FA for a Jy spin-cat state under a Jz

rotation as a function of rotation angle = NB . Simulation was

performed exactly for NA = 20 and NB = 100, with |r| = 1 for

TFS

after a =

the amplitude and phase squeezed states. (b) NB

rotation, which corresponds to the first revival in (a) for r = |0.5|.

of |B (0)i. More specifically, in order to maintain indistinguishability, we require that the magnitude of the phase shift

after time , say cat = NA /NB , that each component of

the superposition cause on |B (0)i is less than the characteristic phase fluctuations

of |B (0)i, V (

nB /NB ) er /.

p

TFS

Setting cat V (

nB /NB ) gives NB

e2r 2 NA2 .

Interestingly, Jy spin-cat states are surprisingly robust to

decoherence arising from this Hamiltonian. Figure 6 (a) plots

the FA for this state as a function of time (parameterized

by the rotation angle = NB ), calculated with respect to

A = Jy . The oscillations in FA are a consequence of the

G

rotation , FA is maximum when the state is aligned along the

Jy axis. In Figure 6 (b) we plot NBT F S for a = rotation,

which corresponds to the first revival in Figure 6 (a). The

quadratic scaling NBT F S NA2 exhibited by N 00N states

under this rotation is not evident here, instead we find that

NBT F S is approximately independent of NA .

The origin of the NA2 scaling for N 00N states is the linear NA dependence of cat , which is absent for a Jy spin-cat

rotating about the Jz axis. Here, the coherence is carried by

the distinguishability of extreme Jy eigenstates. Fluctuations

B = n

in G

B /NB will cause diffusion of the phase of each

branche of the

psuperposition. This phase diffusion will be of

order = V (GB ) er /. As increases, the separation between the two branches decreases, becoming indistinguishable when /2. In this case the non-classical

nature of the state is lost, and we expect FA NA . We expect

that the phase diffusion that leads to FA = NA2 /2 will occur

that the rotated spin-cat state has QFI equal to that of a Twin-Fock

state, for a Glauber-coherent state, amplitude and phase squeezed

states. Lines are a least-squares linear fit, the gradients are for comparison to Eq. (35). Simulation was performed with arg() = 0 and

r = 0.5 for the squeezed states, using the noisy classical variable

approach. NB was varied by changing ||2 rather than r. Inset:

Comparison of exact solution (points) to noisy classical variable

calculation (shapes) for small particle numbers.

gives

NBT F S [|SCi]

T F S

2

e2r ,

(34)

rule of thumb.

B.

Beam-splitter

spin-cat rotating about Jx by = /2, we obtain

NBT F S

e2r

N2 .

4 log(2) A

(35)

opposite sign to that of Eq. (33), as we expect from FB

states with small fluctuations in Y will require

4V (Y /hXi)

the least number of photons. As this result is approximate we

compare it to a numeric solution in Figure 7, both using exact

diagonalisation for small NA , and using the noisy classical

variable approach for a much larger range of NA . We find

excellent agreement between the exact numerics, the noisy

classical variable method and this analytic result, which uses

B Y /hXi.

11

VII.

CONCLUSIONS

a state for input into a metrological device via an operation

such as a beam-splitter or Jz rotation. This evolution may be

performed via an interaction with an auxiliary system, and although it is commonplace to assume this auxiliary system is

sufficiently large that any entanglement between the two systems may be neglected, here we retain a quantized description of both systems. We find that the QFI associated with

the auxiliary systems ability to estimate the Jz projection of

our primary system through the interaction Hamiltonian is an

excellent predictor of decoherence and loss of metrological

usefulness.

It is simple to define this QFI for a separable Hamiltonian

[Eq. (4)], and we also derive an approximate QFI for a beamsplitter Hamiltonian [Eq. (20)]. By introducing an alternative

picture of this decoherence, viewing the reduced density matrix as an average over an ensemble of noisy classical variables, we are also able to generalize our result for the beamsplitter case by defining two generators responsible for the

decay of off-diagonal coherence in both the Jx and Jz eigenbases. In summary it is desirable to chose initial auxiliary

states with small QFI, especially for N 00N states which are

particularly susceptible to this kind of decoherence, see Fig-

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