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- A numerical renormalization group approach to dissipative quantum impurity systems (2011)
- The miniaturization of electronics is reaching its limits. Structures necessary to build integrated circuits from semiconductors are shrinking and could reach the size of only a few atoms within the next few years. It will be at the latest at this point in time that the physics of nanostructures gains importance in our every day life. This thesis deals with the physics of quantum impurity models. All models of this class exhibit an identical structure: the simple and small impurity only has few degrees of freedom. It can be built out of a small number of atoms or a single molecule, for example. In the simplest case it can be described by a single spin degree of freedom, in many quantum impurity models, it can be treated exactly. The complexity of the description arises from its coupling to a large number of fermionic or bosonic degrees of freedom (large meaning that we have to deal with particle numbers of the order of 10^{23}). An exact treatment thus remains impossible. At the same time, physical effects which arise in quantum impurity systems often cannot be described within a perturbative theory, since multiple energy scales may play an important role. One example for such an effect is the Kondo effect, where the free magnetic moment of the impurity is screened by a "cloud" of fermionic particles of the quantum bath. The Kondo effect is only one example for the rich physics stemming from correlation effects in many body systems. Quantum impurity models, and the oftentimes related Kondo effect, have regained the attention of experimental and theoretical physicists since the advent of quantum dots, which are sometimes also referred to as as artificial atoms. Quantum dots offer a unprecedented control and tunability of many system parameters. Hence, they constitute a nice "playground" for fundamental research, while being promising candidates for building blocks of future technological devices as well. Recently Loss' and DiVincenzo's p roposal of a quantum computing scheme based on spins in quantum dots, increased the efforts of experimentalists to coherently manipulate and read out the spins of quantum dots one by one. In this context two topics are of paramount importance for future quantum information processing: since decoherence times have to be large enough to allow for good error correction schemes, understanding the loss of phase coherence in quantum impurity systems is a prerequisite for quantum computation in these systems. Nonequilibrium phenomena in quantum impurity systems also have to be understood, before one may gain control of manipulating quantum bits. As a first step towards more complicated nonequilibrium situations, the reaction of a system to a quantum quench, i.e. a sudden change of external fields or other parameters of the system can be investigated. We give an introduction to a powerful numerical method used in this field of research, the numerical renormalization group method, and apply this method and its recent enhancements to various quantum impurity systems. The main part of this thesis may be structured in the following way: - Ferromagnetic Kondo Model, - Spin-Dynamics in the Anisotropic Kondo and the Spin-Boson Model, - Two Ising-coupled Spins in a Bosonic Bath, - Decoherence in an Aharanov-Bohm Interferometer.