Quantum Optics and Waveguide Quantum Electrodynamics in Superconducting Circuits

Sammanfattning: Waveguide circuit quantum electrodynamics (waveguide circuit QED) studies light-matter interaction with superconducting circuits in one dimension. In circuit QED, natural atoms are replaced by superconducting qubits consisting of a non-linear Josephson junction, resulting in an anharmonic energy spectrum just like real atoms. With superconducting qubits, it is possible to study quantum optical phenomena and reach new regimes hard to achieve with real atoms due to weak coupling to the electromagnetic field. The reduction to one dimension in waveguide QED increases the electromagnetic field's directionality, which results in reduced losses. In this thesis, we first introduce circuit quantisation, giving the basis for the next part, where we investigate a transmon, a charge-insensitive artificial atom, coupled to a semi-infinite transmission line. An atom coupled to a semi-infinite waveguide is referred to as an atom in front of a mirror and is the subject of all appended papers. We proceed by summarising Paper I and III's main results: in Paper I, we investigate the spontaneous emission of a transmon coupled to a semi-infinite transmission line, where we take time-delay effects into account. We find that the system dynamics strongly depend on the coupling strength to the transmission line and the atom's position with respect to the electromagnetic field, leading to the Purcell effect or the convergence to a dark state with finite excitation probability. In the high-impedance regime, which we investigate in Paper III, the properties of the transmon coupled to the high-impedance transmission line change drastically. It becomes highly reflective and creates its own cavity with the mirror, resulting in the emergence of cavity modes and vacuum Rabi oscillations in the spontaneous emission dynamics. In the next chapter of the thesis, we demonstrate how to quantise an electromagnetic field and derive a light-matter interaction Hamiltonian within dipole approximation. We then give an introduction to open quantum systems and derive the quantum-optical master equation in Lindblad form. Furthermore, we introduce the dressed state picture, where the interaction of light and matter is so strong that the individual energy levels of light and matter are no longer separable. Both the quantum optical master equation and the dressed state picture are relevant in Paper II and IV. In Paper II, an experimental collaboration, we perform several experiments to characterise and discriminate different decay rates of a superconducting qubit coupled to the end of a transmission line. One experiment measured the atomic fluorescence spectral density, which shows an asymmetry for off-resonant driving, resulting from pure dephasing: an effect that we explain in more detail in this thesis and Paper II. In Paper IV, we theoretically investigate amplification mechanisms realised by different set-ups of an atom coupled to a semi-infinite waveguide. In the considered systems, the amplification of a probe field happens either due to population inversion between the pure states or dressed states or multi-photon processes. We find that compared to an open waveguide, we can achieve a higher gain in the amplification with a semi-infinite waveguide.

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