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Publication Detail / Abstract

C. Sánchez Muñoz, B. Buča, J. Tindall, A. González-Tudela, D. Jaksch, D. Porras

Symmetries and conservation laws in quantum trajectories: Dissipative freezing

published on Physical Review A on October 16, 2019
> Full text via publisher
In driven-dissipative systems, the presence of a strong symmetry guarantees the existence of several steady states belonging to different symmetry sectors. Here we show that when a system with a strong symmetry is initialized in a quantum superposition involving several of these sectors, each individual stochastic trajectory will randomly select a single one of them and remain there for the rest of the evolution. Since a strong symmetry implies a conservation law for the corresponding symmetry operator on the ensemble level, this selection of a single sector from an initial superposition entails a breakdown of this conservation law at the level of individual realizations. Given that such a superposition is impossible in a classical stochastic trajectory, this is a a purely quantum effect with no classical analog. Our results show that a system with a closed Liouvillian gap may exhibit, when monitored over a single run of an experiment, a behavior completely opposite to the usual notion of dynamical phase coexistence and intermittency, which are typically considered hallmarks of a dissipative phase transition. We discuss our results on a coherently driven spin ensemble with a squeezed superradiant decay, a simple model that presents a wealth of nonergodic dynamics.
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