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Lattice Quantum Codes and Exotic Topological Phases of Matter


Haah, Jeongwan (2013) Lattice Quantum Codes and Exotic Topological Phases of Matter. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/GCYW-ZE58.


This thesis addresses whether it is possible to build a robust memory device for quantum information. Many schemes for fault-tolerant quantum information processing have been developed so far, one of which, called topological quantum computation, makes use of degrees of freedom that are inherently insensitive to local errors. However, this scheme is not so reliable against thermal errors. Other fault-tolerant schemes achieve better reliability through active error correction, but incur a substantial overhead cost. Thus, it is of practical importance and theoretical interest to design and assess fault-tolerant schemes that work well at finite temperature without active error correction.

In this thesis, a three-dimensional gapped lattice spin model is found which demonstrates for the first time that a reliable quantum memory at finite temperature is possible, at least to some extent. When quantum information is encoded into a highly entangled ground state of this model and subjected to thermal errors, the errors remain easily correctable for a long time without any active intervention, because a macroscopic energy barrier keeps the errors well localized. As a result, stored quantum information can be retrieved faithfully for a memory time which grows exponentially with the square of the inverse temperature. In contrast, for previously known types of topological quantum storage in three or fewer spatial dimensions the memory time scales exponentially with the inverse temperature, rather than its square.

This spin model exhibits a previously unexpected topological quantum order, in which ground states are locally indistinguishable, pointlike excitations are immobile, and the immobility is not affected by small perturbations of the Hamiltonian. The degeneracy of the ground state, though also insensitive to perturbations, is a complicated number-theoretic function of the system size, and the system bifurcates into multiple noninteracting copies of itself under real-space renormalization group transformations. The degeneracy, the excitations, and the renormalization group flow can be analyzed using a framework that exploits the spin model's symmetry and some associated free resolutions of modules over polynomial algebras.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:quantum codes; stabilizer codes; topological order; quantum memory
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Preskill, John P.
Group:Institute for Quantum Information and Matter
Thesis Committee:
  • Preskill, John P. (chair)
  • Kitaev, Alexei
  • Refael, Gil
  • Rains, Eric M.
Defense Date:15 May 2013
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:05292013-140541902
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7763
Deposited By: Jeongwan Haah
Deposited On:30 May 2013 23:41
Last Modified:02 Jun 2020 21:54

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