Tensor network simulations of open quantum systems

  • Dainius Kilda

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis (PhD)


The nonequilibrium effects of dissipation and drive play a key role in an immense variety of nanoscale and mesoscale quantum systems. To understand the behaviour of open quantum systems, we need accurate methods that capture the influence of the environment on the system, while managing the exponentially large Hilbert space required to describe the system. Tensor network algorithms offer an efficient way to approach this challenge. In this thesis, we develop and apply tensor network techniques to study the dynamics and steady states of various open quantum systems.

The first part of the thesis focuses on the driven dissipative many body physics in coupled cavity arrays described by Born-Markov master equations. We extend transfer matrix product operator methods to Liouvillian dynamics, and utilize them to compute dynamical correlation functions and fluorescence spectrum of an infinite coupled cavity array in 1D. We also investigate thermalization, and observe the emergence of a quasi-thermal steady state with a negative effective temperature. In another study, we use infinite projected entangled pair state (iPEPS) methods to compute steady states of coupled cavity lattices in 2D. We find that a straightforward adaptation of iPEPS to Liouvillian dynamics is unstable, contradicting a recent publication in the field.

The second part investigates more general systems involving strong couplings and structured environments that induce non-Markovian dynamics. We develop a powerful time-evolving matrix product operator (TEMPO) algorithm that builds on Feynman-Vernon influence functional formalism, and uses matrix product states (MPS) to represent the temporal non-Markovian correlations efficiently. We apply TEMPO to study the localization phase transition of the spin-boson model and the dynamics of two spatially separated two-level systems coupled to a common environment. Finally, we propose the Toblerone TEMPO algorithm, which extends TEMPO to many-body systems interacting with general bosonic environments.
Date of Award22 Jun 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of St Andrews
SupervisorJonathan Mark James Keeling (Supervisor)


  • Open quantum systems
  • Non-Markovian quantum dynamics
  • Circuit QED
  • Tensor networks

Access Status

  • Full text open
  • Embargo period has ended, thesis made available in accordance with University regulations

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