Abstract:
We analyze the crossing of a quantum critical point based on exact results for the transverse XY model. In dependence of the change rate of the driving field, the evolution of the ground state is studied while the transverse magnetic field is tuned through the critical point with a linear ramping. The excitation probability is obtained exactly and is compared to previous studies and to the Landau-Zener formula, a long time solution for non-adiabatic transitions in two-level systems. The exact time dependence of the excitations density in the system allows to identify the adiabatic and diabatic regions during the sweep and to study the mesoscopic fluctuations of the excitations. The effect of white noise is investigated, where the critical point transmutes into a non-hermitian ``degenerate region''. Besides an overall increase of the excitations during and at the end of the sweep, the most destructive effect of the noise is the decay of the state purity that is enhanced by the passage through the degenerate region.

Abstract:
Using detailed balance and scaling properties of integrals that appear in the Coulomb gas reformulation of quantum impurity problems, we establish exact relations between the nonequilibrium quantum decay rates of the boundary sine-Gordon and the anisotropic Kondo model at zero temperature. Combining these results with findings from the thermodynamic Bethe ansatz, we derive exact closed form expressions for the quantum decay rate of the dissipative two-state system in the scaling limit. These expressions illustrate how the crossover from weak to strong tunneling takes place. We trace out the regimes in which the usually applied Golden Rule (nonadiabatic) rate expression fails. Using a conjectured correspondence between the relaxation and dephasing rate, we obtain the exact lower bound of the dephasing rate as a function of bias and dissipation strength.

Abstract:
Using detailed balance and scaling properties of integrals that appear in the Coulomb gas reformulation of quantum impurity problems, we establish exact relations between the nonequilibrium transfer rates of the boundary sine-Gordon and the anisotropic Kondo model at zero temperature. Combining these results with findings from the thermodynamic Bethe ansatz, we derive exact closed form expressions for the transfer rate in the biased spin-boson model in the scaling limit. They illustrate how the crossover from weak to strong tunneling takes place. Using a conjectured correspondence between the transfer and the decoherence rate, we also determine the exact lower bound for damping of the coherent oscillation as a function of bias and dissipation strength in this paradigmic model for NMR and superposition of macroscopically distinct states (qubits).

Abstract:
We study the effects of a magnetic impurity on the behavior of a $S=1/2$ spin chain. At T=0, both with and without an applied uniform magnetic field, an oscillating magnetization appears, whose decay with the distance from the impurity is ruled by a power law. As a consequence, pairwise entanglement is either enhanced or quenched, depending on the distance of the spin pair with respect to the impurity and on the values of the magnetic field and the intensity of the impurity itself. This leads us to suggest that acting on such control parameters, an adiabatic manipulation of the entanglement distribution can be performed. The robustness of our results against temperature is checked, and suggestions about possible experimental applications are put forward.

Abstract:
We analyze the interplay of dissipative and quantum effects in the proximity of a quantum phase transition. The prototypical system is a resistively shunted two-dimensional Josephson junction array, studied by means of an advanced Fourier path-integral Monte Carlo algorithm. The reentrant superconducting-to-normal phase transition driven by quantum fluctuations, recently discovered in the limit of infinite shunt resistance, persists for moderate dissipation strength but disappears in the limit of small resistance. For large quantum coupling our numerical results show that, beyond a critical dissipation strength, the superconducting phase is always stabilized at sufficiently low temperature. Our phase diagram explains recent experimental findings.

Abstract:
We consider a quantum many-body system made of $N$ interacting $S{=}1/2$ spins on a lattice, and develop a formalism which allows to extract, out of conventional magnetic observables, the quantum probabilities for any selected spin pair to be in maximally entangled or factorized two-spin states. This result is used in order to capture the meaning of entanglement properties in terms of magnetic behavior. In particular, we consider the concurrence between two spins and show how its expression extracts information on the presence of bipartite entanglement out of the probability distributions relative to specific sets of two-spin quantum states. We apply the above findings to the antiferromagnetic Heisenberg model in a uniform magnetic field, both on a chain and on a two-leg ladder. Using Quantum Monte Carlo simulations, we obtain the above probability distributions and the associated entanglement, discussing their evolution under application of the field.

Abstract:
We study the thermodynamics of the spin-$S$ two-dimensional quantum Heisenberg antiferromagnet on the square lattice with nearest ($J_1$) and next-nearest ($J_2$) neighbor couplings in its collinear phase ($J_2/J_1>0.5$), using the pure-quantum self-consistent harmonic approximation. Our results show the persistence of a finite-temperature Ising phase transition for every value of the spin, provided that the ratio $J_2/J_1$ is greater than a critical value corresponding to the onset of collinear long-range order at zero temperature. We also calculate the spin- and temperature-dependence of the collinear susceptibility and correlation length, and we discuss our results in light of the experiments on Li$_2$VOSiO$_4$ and related compounds.

Abstract:
We address the possibility of performing numerical Monte Carlo simulations for the thermodynamics of quantum dissipative systems. Dissipation is considered within the Caldeira-Leggett formulation, which describes the system in the path-integral formalism through the inclusion of an influence action that is bilocal and quadratic in the system's coordinates. At a first sight the usual direct approach of discretizing the path integral could seem feasible, but complications arise when one tries to introduce a physically meaningful dissipation kernel: in particular its imaginary-time dependence turns out to be severely singular and difficult to evaluate analytically, in spite of the simple expressions for its Matsubara components. We therefore propose to face the numerical problem using Fourier path-integral Monte Carlo, that can be formulated in two different ways: transforming the continuous paths and then truncating the high Fourier components (with possible improvements upon the truncation procedure), or performing the Fourier transformation upon the discretized paths. The latter choice leads to a simpler formulation and allows for a better control of the extrapolation to the limit of infinite Trotter number. The method is implemented for a single nonlinear particle with Ohmic dissipation and for a phi^4 chain with Drude-like dissipation.

Abstract:
The phase diagram of two dimensional Josephson arrays is studied by means of the mapping to the quantum XY model. The quantum effects onto the thermodynamics of the system can be evaluated with quantitative accuracy by a semiclassical method, the {\em pure-quantum self-consistent harmonic approximation}, and those of dissipation can be included in the same framework by the Caldeira-Leggett model. Within this scheme, the critical temperature of the superconductor-to-insulator transition, which is a Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless one, can be calculated in an extremely easy way as a function of the quantum coupling and of the dissipation mechanism. Previous quantum Monte Carlo results for the same model appear to be rather inaccurate, while the comparison with experimental data leads to conclude that the commonly assumed model is not suitable to describe in detail the real system.

Abstract:
The effects of dissipation on the thermodynamic properties of nonlinear quantum systems are approached by the path-integral method in order to construct approximate classical-like formulas for evaluating thermal averages of thermodynamic quantities. Explicit calculations are presented for one-particle and many-body systems. The effects of the dissipation mechanism on the phase diagram of two-dimensional Josephson arrays is discussed.