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Quantum Phase Extraction in Isospectral Electronic Nanostructures

Description: Quantum phase is not a direct observable and is usually determined by interferometric methods. We present a method to map complete electron wave functions, including internal quantum phase information, from measured single-state probability densities. We harness the mathematical discovery of drum-like manifolds bearing different shapes but identical resonances, and construct quantum isospectral nanostructures possessing matching electronic structure but divergent physical structure. Quantum measurement (scanning tunneling microscopy) of these 'quantum drums' [degenerate two-dimensional electron states on the Cu(111) surface confined by individually positioned CO molecules] reveals that isospectrality provides an extra topological degree of freedom enabling robust quantum state transplantation and phase extraction.
Date: April 28, 2010
Creator: Moon, Christopher
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Single-Atom Gating of Quantum State Superpositions

Description: The ultimate miniaturization of electronic devices will likely require local and coherent control of single electronic wavefunctions. Wavefunctions exist within both physical real space and an abstract state space with a simple geometric interpretation: this state space - or Hilbert space - is spanned by mutually orthogonal state vectors corresponding to the quantized degrees of freedom of the real-space system. Measurement of superpositions is akin to accessing the direction of a vector in Hilbert space, determining an angle of rotation equivalent to quantum phase. Here we show that an individual atom inside a designed quantum corral1 can control this angle, producing arbitrary coherent superpositions of spatial quantum states. Using scanning tunnelling microscopy and nanostructures assembled atom-by-atom we demonstrate how single spins and quantum mirages can be harnessed to image the superposition of two electronic states. We also present a straightforward method to determine the atom path enacting phase rotations between any desired state vectors. A single atom thus becomes a real-space handle for an abstract Hilbert space, providing a simple technique for coherent quantum state manipulation at the spatial limit of condensed matter.
Date: April 28, 2010
Creator: Moon, Christopher
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department