Resonating valence bonds and spinon pairing in the Dicke model

R. Ganesh, L. Theerthagiri, G. Baskaran

SciPost Phys. 4, 044 (2018) · published 30 June 2018


Resonating valence bond (RVB) states are a class of entangled quantum many body wavefunctions with great significance in condensed matter physics. We propose a scheme to synthesize a family of RVB states using a cavity QED setup with two-level atoms (with states $\vert 0 \rangle$ and $\vert 1 \rangle$) coupled to a common photon mode. In the lossy cavity limit, starting with an initial state of $M$ atoms excited and $N$ atoms in the ground state, we show that this setup can be configured as a Stern Gerlach experiment. A measurement of photon emission collapses the wavefunction of atoms onto an RVB state composed of resonating long-ranged singlets of the form $\frac{1}{\sqrt{2}}[\vert 0 1 \rangle - \vert 1 0 \rangle]$. Each emitted photon reduces the number of singlets by unity, replacing it with a pair of lone spins or `spinons'. As spinons are formed coherently in pairs, they are analogous to Cooper pairs in a superconductor. To simulate pair fluctuations, we propose a protocol in which photons are allowed to escape the cavity undetected. This leads to a mixed quantum state with a fluctuating number of spinon pairs -- an inchoate superconductor. Remarkably, in the limit of large system sizes, this protocol reveals an underlying quantum phase transition. Upon tuning the initial spin polarization ($M-N$), the emission exhibits a continuous transition from a dark state to a bright state. This is reflected in the spinon pair number distribution which can be tuned from sub-poissonian to super-poissonian regimes. This opens an exciting route to simulate RVB states and superconductivity.

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Cavity QED Cooper pairs Dicke model Entangled wavefunctions Optical cavities Quantum phase transitions Resonating valence bonds (RVB) Spinons Stern-Gerlach experiment Superconductivity/superconductors

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