Probing Entangled States of the Nuclear-Electronic Quantum Magnet LiHoF₄

Two objects are entangled when their quantum mechanical wavefunctions cannot be written in a separable product form. Entangling dissimilar quantum objects, or hybridization, has been suggested as a promising route to efficient quantum information processors, but mostly realized on a limited scale. Hybrid nuclear-electronic many-body systems remain a largely unexplored challenge to both experiments and theories. The prototypical transverse-field Ising ferromagnet LiHoF4 is an ideal platform to address this issue. The Ising model is considered as an archetype both for the investigation of quantum criticality and for the evaluation of quantum simulators. The hyperfine coupling strength of a Ho ion is exceptionally large, promoting a strong hybridization or entanglement between the nuclear and electronic moments. The magnetic coupling between the Ho ions that leads to ferromagnetic ordering is predominantly through long-range dipole interactions, while nearest-neighbor exchange interaction is negligibly weak. Applying a transverse field induces a zero temperature quantum phase transition driven by quantum fluctuations. Altogether LiHoF4 represents a unique nuclear-electronic quantum magnet, whose wavefunctions can be readily obtained by diagonalizing the Hamiltonian using the mean-field approximation. In this thesis we develop an experimental setup to probe the entangled nuclear-electronic states in a model transverse-field Ising system LiHoF4. Using magnetic resonance the field and temperature evolution of the nuclear-electronic states are successfully traced across the whole phase diagram. We develop a theoretical framework based on mean-field calculations which provides close agreement with the experimental observations. Having established experimentally that the mean-field wavefunctions are an excellent approximation of the actual wavefunction, we used them to calculate the ground-state entanglement entropy between the electronic and nuclear magnetic moments. We find that the entanglement entropy between the nuclear and electronic moments exhibits a peak at the quantum phase transition. This suggests that the electronic entanglement is encoded onto each nuclear-electronic state. Our results pave the way for new theoretical and experimental investigations of quantum entanglement.


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