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To achieve the scientific goal of the initiative – to explore, understand and utilize the effects of external driving and reservoir coupling to the non-equilibrium dynamics of few- and many-body quantum systems – we pursue complementary approaches.
 
Few-body quantum systems and environments.
A bottom-up approach is followed in research area A in which individual or few-body quantum systems coupled to tailored environments are investigated. This includes the investigation of non-trivial reservoirs. Making use of the extremely high degree of control over internal and external dynamics and the full power of state detection techniques available for individual quantum optical systems, we aim at an in-depth understanding of the interplay of coherent control techniques and environmental couplings, as well as of reservoir mediated interactions between quantum systems.
 

Control of quantum many-body systems by environments.

In research area B the opposite, top-down approach is pursued. Here we will investigate what novel effects arise from the interplay and the competition between the unitary dynamics of an interacting many-body system and the coupling to reservoir(s) and/or time-periodic drives. In these complex systems typically not all degrees of freedom can be controlled precisely; the complexity leads, however, to new exciting collective phenomena, such as phase transitions.

   
Topological states in atomic and photonic systems.
In Research area C the main focus lies on the
development of basic tools and methods to create topological order in atomic and photonic matter as an alternative approach to control and protect quantum states. The main experimental focus will be on Floquet-topological systems, where topological order is induced by time-periodic driving. In addition theoretical work will focus on topology in systems coupled to Markovian reservoirs which will lay the ground for the ultimate goal for future funding periods, of combining topological protection with open-system control as developed in research areas A and B. Our goal is to elevate topological protection to a new level that includes robustness to losses and decoherence.
 

 

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