Strong light–matter coupling provides a promising path for the control of quantum matter where the latter is routinely described from first principles. However, combining the quantized nature of light with this ab initio tool set is challenging and merely developing as the coupled light–matter Hilbert space is conceptually different and computational cost quickly becomes overwhelming. In this work, we provide a nonperturbative photon-free formulation of quantum electrodynamics (QED) in the long-wavelength limit, which is formulated solely on the matter Hilbert space and can serve as an accurate starting point for such ab initio methods. The present formulation is an extension of quantum mechanics that recovers the exact results of QED for the zero- and infinite-coupling limit and the infinite-frequency as well as the homogeneous limit, and we can constructively increase its accuracy. We show how this formulation can be used to devise approximations for quantum-electrodynamical density-functional theory (QEDFT), which in turn also allows us to extend the ansatz to the full minimal-coupling problem and to nonadiabatic situations. Finally, we provide a simple local density–type functional that takes the strong coupling to the transverse photon degrees of freedom into account and includes the correct frequency and polarization dependence. This QEDFT functional accounts for the quantized nature of light while remaining computationally simple enough to allow its application to a large range of systems. All approximations allow the seamless application to periodic systems.
Quantum many-body systems display rich phase structure in their low-temperature equilibrium states. However, much of nature is not in thermal equilibrium. Remarkably, it was recently predicted that out-of-equilibrium systems can exhibit novel dynamical phases that may otherwise be forbidden by equilibrium thermodynamics, a paradigmatic example being the discrete time crystal (DTC). Concretely, dynamical phases can be defined in periodically driven many-body localized systems via the concept of eigenstate order. In eigenstate-ordered phases, the entire many-body spectrum exhibits quantum correlations and long-range order, with characteristic signatures in late-time dynamics from all initial states. It is, however, challenging to experimentally distinguish such stable phases from transient phenomena, wherein few select states can mask typical behavior. Here we implement a continuous family of tunable CPHASE gates on an array of superconducting qubits to experimentally observe an eigenstate-ordered DTC. We demonstrate the characteristic spatiotemporal response of a DTC for generic initial states. Our work employs a time-reversal protocol that discriminates external decoherence from intrinsic thermalization, and leverages quantum typicality to circumvent the exponential cost of densely sampling the eigenspectrum. In addition, we locate the phase transition out of the DTC with an experimental finite-size analysis. These results establish a scalable approach to study non-equilibrium phases of matter on current quantum processors.
This special issue is conceived out of the proposition that recent developments in quantum theory as well as innovations in quantum technology have profound implications for international relations, especially in the field of international security. Interaction with quantum theory outside the circle of physics has been limited; our goal is to catalyse an informed debate on the virtues of quantum theory for international relations. As new scientific discoveries and technological applications suggest large-scale quantum phenomena, near-simultaneous interconnectivity creates global entanglements, and ubiquitous media produce profound observer-effects, we wish to make of quantum theory a human science. With the arrival of quantum computing, communications and artificial intelligence, we can also expect to see significant transformations in the nature, production and distribution of power and knowledge. This special issue introduces quantum approaches that can help us better understand, anticipate and perhaps even ameliorate the most pressing global issues facing us today and in the near future.
We introduce a two-qubit engine that is powered by entanglement and local measurements. Energy is extracted from the detuned qubits coherently exchanging a single excitation. Generalizing to an N-qubit chain, we show that the low energy of the first qubit can be up-converted to an arbitrarily high energy at the last qubit by successive neighbor swap operations and local measurements. We finally model the local measurement as the entanglement of a qubit with a meter, and we identify the fuel as the energetic cost to erase the correlations between the qubits. Our findings extend measurement-powered engines to composite working substances and provide a microscopic interpretation of the fueling mechanism.