Dynamics of periodic anticrossings: Decoherence, pointer states, and hysteresis curves

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11 Citations (Scopus)


We consider a strongly driven two-level (spin) system, with a periodic external field that induces a sequence of avoided level crossings. The spin system interacts with a bosonic reservoir which leads to decoherence. A Markovian dynamical equation is introduced without relying on the rotating wave approximation in the system-external field interaction. We show that the time evolution of the two-level system is directed toward an incoherent sum of periodic Floquet states regardless of the initial state and even the type of the coupling to the environment. Analyzing the time scale of approaching these time-dependent pointer states, information can be deduced concerning the nature and strength of the system-environment coupling. The inversion as a function of the external field is usually multivalued, and the form of these hysteresis curves is qualitatively different for low and high temperatures. For moderate temperatures we found that the series of Landau-Zener-Stückelbergtype transitions still can be used for state preparation, regardless of the decoherence rate. Possible applications include quantum information processing and molecular nanomagnets.

Original languageEnglish
Article number013406
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics

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