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The projects presented in this thesis cover the examination of the electronic and structural properties of organic thin films at noble metal-organic interfaces. Angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy is used as the primary investigative tool due to the connection of the emitted photoelectrons to the electronic structure of the sample. The surveyed materials are of relevance for fundamental research and practical applications on their own, but also serve as archetypes for the photoemission techniques presented throughout the four main chapters of this thesis. The techniques are therefore outlined with their adaptation to other systems in mind and a special focus on the proper description of the final state.
The most basic description of the final state that is still adequate for the evaluation of photoemission data is a plane wave. Its simplicity enables a relatively intuitive interpretation of photoemission data, since the initial and final state are related to one another by a Fourier transform and a geometric factor in this approximation. Moreover, the initial states of some systems can be reconstructed in three dimensions by combining photoemission measurements at various excitation energies. This reconstruction can even be carried out solely based on experimental data by using suitable iterative algorithms.
Since the approximation of the final state in the photoemission process by a plane wave is not valid in all instances, knowledge on the limitations of its applicability is indispensable. This can be gained by a comparison to experimental data as well as calculations with a more detailed description of the photoemission final state. One possible appraoch is based on independently emitting atoms where the coherent superposition of partial, atomic final states produces the total final state. This approach can also be used for more intricate studies on organic thin films. To this end, experimental data can be related to theoretical calculations to gain extensive insights into the structural and electronic properties of molecules in organic thin films.

The capabilities of a new approach towards the foundations of Statistical Mechanics are explored. The approach is genuine quantum in the sense that statistical behavior is a consequence of objective quantum uncertainties due to entanglement and uncertainty relations. No additional randomness is added by hand and no assumptions about a priori probabilities are made, instead measure concentration results are used to justify the methods of Statistical Physics. The approach explains the applicability of the microcanonical and canonical ensemble and the tendency to equilibrate in a natural way. This work contains a pedagogical review of the existing literature and some new results. The most important of which are: i) A measure theoretic justification for the microcanonical ensemble. ii) Bounds on the subsystem equilibration time. iii) A proof that a generic weak interaction causes decoherence in the energy eigenbasis. iv) A proof of a quantum H-Theorem. v) New estimates of the average effective dimension for initial product states and states from the mean energy ensemble. vi) A proof that time and ensemble averages of observables are typically close to each other. vii) A bound on the fluctuations of the purity of a system coupled to a bath.

Quantum theory is considered to be the most fundamental and most accurate physical theory of today. Although quantum theory is conceptually difficult to understand, its mathematical structure is quite simple. What determines this particularly simple and elegant mathematical structure? In short: Why is quantum theory as it is?
Addressing such questions is the aim of investigating the foundations of quantum theory. In the past this field of research was sometimes considered as an academic subject without much practical impact. However, with the emergence of quantum information theory this perception has changed significantly and both fields started to fruitfully influence each other. Today fundamental aspects of quantum theory attract increasing attention and the field belongs to the most exciting subjects of theoretical physics.
This thesis is concerned with a particular branch in this field, namely, with so-called Generalized Probabilistic Theories (GPTs), which provide a unified theoretical framework in which classical and quantum theory emerge as special cases. This is used to examine nonlocal features that help to distinguish quantum theory from alternative toy theories. In order to extend the scope of theories that can be examined with the framework, we also introduce several generalizations to the framework itself.
We start in Chapter 1 with introducing the standard GPT framework and summarize previous results, based on a review paper of the author [New J. Phys. 13, 063024 (2011)]. To keep the introduction accessible to a broad readership, we follow a constructive approach. Starting from few basic physically motivated assumptions we show how a given set of observations can be manifested in an operational theory. Furthermore, we characterize consistency conditions limiting the range of possible extensions. We point out that non-classical features of single systems can equivalently result from higher dimensional classical theories that have been restricted. Entanglement and non-locality, however, are shown to be genuine non-classical features. We review features that have been found to be specific for quantum theory separably or single and joint systems.
Chapter 2 incorporates results published in [J. Phys. A 47(32), pp. 1-32 (2014)] and [Proc. QPL 2011 via EPTCS vol. 95, pp. 183–192 (2012)]. The GPT framework is applied to show how the structure of local state spaces indirectly affects possible nonlocal correlations, which are global properties of a theory. These correlations are stronger than those possible in a classical theory, but happen to show different restrictions that can be linked to the structure of subsystems. We first illustrate the phenomenon with toy theories with particular local state spaces. We than show that a particular class of joint states (inner product states), whose existence depends on geometrical properties of the local subsystems, can only have correlations for a known limited set called Q1. All bipartite correlations of both, quantum and classical correlations, can be mapped to measurement statistics from such joint states.
Chapter 3 shows unpublished results on entanglement swapping in GPTs. This protocol, which is well known in quantum information theory, allows to nonlocally transfer entanglement to initially unentangled parties with the help of a third party that shares entanglement with each. We review our approach published in [Proc. QPL 2011 via EPTCS vol. 95, pp. 183–192 (2012)], which mimics the joint systems' structure of quantum theory by modifying a popular toy theory known as boxworld. However, it is illustrated that this approach fails for bigger multipartite systems due to inconsistencies evoked by entanglement swapping. It turns out that the GPT framework does not allow entanglement swapping for general subsystems with two-dimensional state spaces with transitive pure states. Altering the GPT framework to allow completely globally degrees of freedom, however, enables us to construct consistent entanglement swapping for these subsystems. This construction resembles the situation in quantum theory on a real Hilbert space.
A questionable assumption usually taken in the standard GPT framework is the so-called no-restriction hypothesis. It states that the measurement that are possible in a theory can be derived from the state space. In fact, this assumption seems to exist for reasons of mathematical convenience, but it seems to lack physical motivation. We generalize the GPT framework to also account for systems that do not obey the no-restriction hypothesis in Chapter 4, which presents results published in [Phys. Rev. A 87, 052131 (2013)] and [Proc. QPL 2013, to be published in EPTCS]. The extended framework includes new classes of probabilistic theories. As an example, we show how to construct theories that include intrinsic noise. We also provide a "self-dualization" procedure that requires the violation of the no-restriction hypothesis. This procedure restricts the measurement of arbitrary theories such that the theories act as if they were self-dual. Self-duality has recently gathered lots of interest, since such theories share many features of quantum theory. For example Tsirelson’s bound holds for correlations on the maximally entangled state in these theories. Finally, we characterize the maximal set of joint states that can be consistently defined for given subsystems. This generalizes the maximal tensor product of the standard GPT framework.

In this thesis, I study entanglement in quantum field theory, using methods from operator algebra theory. More precisely, the thesis covers original research on the entanglement properties of the free fermionic field. After giving a pedagogical introduction to algebraic methods in quantum field theory, as well as the modular theory of Tomita-Takesaki and its relation to entanglement, I present a coherent framework that allows to solve Tomita-Takesaki theory for free fermionic fields in any number of dimensions. Subsequently, I use the derived machinery on the free massless fermion in two dimensions, where the formulae can be evaluated analytically. In particular, this entails the derivation of the resolvent of restrictions of the propagator, by means of solving singular integral equations. In this way, I derive the modular flow, modular Hamiltonian, modular correlation function, R\'enyi entanglement entropy, von-Neumann entanglement entropy, relative entanglement entropy, and mutual information for multi-component regions. All of this is done for the vacuum and thermal states, both on the infinite line and the circle with (anti-)periodic boundary conditions. Some of these results confirm previous results from the literature, such as the modular Hamiltonian and entanglement entropy in the vacuum state. The non-universal solutions for modular flow, modular correlation function, and R\'enyi entropy, however are new, in particular at finite temperature on the circle. Additionally, I show how boundaries of spacetime affect entanglement, as well as how one can define relative (entanglement) entropy and mutual information in theories with superselection rules. The findings regarding modular flow in multi-component regions can be summarised as follows: In the non-degenerate vacuum state, modular flow is multi-local, in the sense that it mixes the field operators along multiple trajectories, with one trajectory per component. This was already known from previous literature but is presented here in a more explicit form. In particular, I present the exact solution for the dynamics of the mixing process. What was not previously known at all, is that the modular flow of the thermal state on the circle is infinitely multi-local even for a connected region, in the sense that it mixes the field along an infinite, discretely distributed set, of trajectories. In the limit of high temperatures, all trajectories but the local one are pushed towards the boundary of the region, where their amplitude is damped exponentially, leaving only the local result. At low temperatures, on the other hand, these trajectories distribute densely in the region to either---for anti-periodic boundary conditions---cancel, or---for periodic boundary conditions---recover the non-local contribution due to the degenerate vacuum state. Proceeding to spacetimes with boundaries, I show explicitly how the presence of a boundary implies entanglement between the two components of the Dirac spinor. By computing the mutual information between the components inside a connected region, I show quantitatively that this entanglement decreases as an inverse square law at large distances from the boundary. In addition, full conformal symmetry (which is explicitly broken due to the presence of a boundary) is recovered from the exact solution for modular flow, far away from the boundary. As far as I know, all of these results are new, although related results were published by another group during the final stage of this thesis. Finally, regarding relative entanglement entropy in theories with superselection sectors, I introduce charge and flux resolved relative entropies, which are novel measures for the distinguishability of states, incorporating a charge operator, central to the algebra of observables. While charge resolved relative entropy has the interpretation of being a ``distinguishability per charge sector'', I argue that it is physically meaningless without placing a cutoff, due to infinite short-distance entanglement. Flux resolved relative entropy, on the other hand, overcomes this problem by inserting an Aharonov-Bohm flux and thus passing to a variant of the grand canonical ensemble. It takes a well defined value, even without putting a cutoff, and I compute its value between various states of the free massless fermion on the line, the charge operator being the total fermion number.

This thesis reports a successful fabrication and characterisation of ferromagnetic/superconductor junction (F/S) on graphene. The thesis preposes a fabrication method to produce F/S junctions on graphene which make use of ALD grown Al2O3 as the tunnel barrier for the ferromagnetic contacts. Measurements done on F/G/S/G/F suggests that by injecting spin polarised current into the superconductor, a spin imbalance is created in the quasiparticle density of states of the superconductor which then diffuses through the graphene channel. The observed characteristic curves are similar to the ones which are already reported on metallic ferromagnet/superconductor junctions where the spin imbalance is created using Zeeman splitting. Further measurements also show that the curves loose their characteristic shapes when the temperature is increased above the critical temperature (Tc) or when the external magnetic field is higher then the critical field (Hc) of the superconducting contact. But to prove conclusively and doubtlessly the existence of spin imbalance in ferromagnet/superconductor junctions on graphene, more devices have to be made and characterised preferably in a dilution refrigerator.

Due to their potential application for quantum computation, quantum dots have attracted a lot of interest in recent years. In these devices single electrons can be captured, whose spin can be used to define a quantum bit (qubit). However, the information stored in these quantum bits is fragile due to the interaction of the electron spin with its environment. While many of the resulting problems have already been solved, even on the experimental side, the hyperfine interaction between the nuclear spins of the host material and the electron spin in their center remains as one of the major obstacles. As a consequence, the reduction of the number of nuclear spins is a promising way to minimize this effect. However, most quantum dots have a fixed number of nuclear spins due to the presence of group III and V elements of the periodic table in the host material. In contrast, group IV elements such as carbon allow for a variable size of the nuclear spin environment through isotopic purification. Motivated by this possibility, we theoretically investigate the physics of the central spin model in carbon based quantum dots. In particular, we focus on the consequences of a variable number of nuclear spins on the decoherence of the electron spin in graphene quantum dots.
Since our models are, in many aspects, based upon actual experimental setups, we provide an overview of the most important achievements of spin qubits in quantum dots in the first part of this Thesis. To this end, we discuss the spin interactions in semiconductors on a rather general ground. Subsequently, we elaborate on their effect in GaAs and graphene, which can be considered as prototype materials. Moreover, we also explain how the central spin model can be described in terms of open and closed quantum systems and which theoretical tools are suited to analyze such models.
Based on these prerequisites, we then investigate the physics of the electron spin using analytical and numerical methods. We find an intriguing thermal flip of the electron spin using standard statistical physics. Subsequently, we analyze the dynamics of the electron spin under influence of a variable number of nuclear spins. The limit of a large nuclear spin environment is investigated using the Nakajima-Zwanzig quantum master equation, which reveals a decoherence of the electron spin with a power-law decay on short timescales. Interestingly, we find a dependence of the details of this decay on the orientation of an external magnetic field with respect to the graphene plane. By restricting to a small number of nuclear spins, we are able to analyze the dynamics of the electron spin by exact diagonalization, which provides us with more insight into the microscopic details of the decoherence. In particular, we find a fast initial decay of the electron spin, which asymptotically reaches a regime governed by small fluctuations around a finite long-time average value. Finally, we analytically predict upper bounds on the size of these fluctuations in the framework of quantum thermodynamics.

Clearly, in nature, but also in technological applications, complex systems built in an entirely ordered and regular fashion are the exception rather than the rule. In this thesis we explore how critical phenomena are influenced by quenched spatial randomness. Specifically, we consider physical systems undergoing a continuous phase transition in the presence of topological disorder, where the underlying structure, on which the system evolves, is given by a non-regular, discrete lattice. We therefore endeavour to achieve a thorough understanding of the interplay between collective dynamics and quenched randomness.
According to the intriguing concept of universality, certain laws emerge from collectively behaving many-body systems at criticality, almost regardless of the precise microscopic realization of interactions in those systems. As a consequence, vastly different phenomena show striking similarities at their respective phase transitions. In this dissertation we pursue the question of whether the universal properties of critical phenomena are preserved when the system is subjected to topological perturbations. For this purpose, we perform numerical simulations of several prototypical systems of statistical physics which show a continuous phase transition. In particular, the equilibrium spin-1/2 Ising model and its generalizations represent -- among other applications -- fairly natural approaches to model magnetism in solids, whereas the non-equilibrium contact process serves as a toy model for percolation in porous media and epidemic spreading. Finally, the Manna sandpile model is strongly related to the concept of self-organized criticality, where a complex dynamic system reaches a critical state without fine-tuning of external variables.
Our results reveal that the prevailing understanding of the influence of topological randomness on critical phenomena is insufficient. In particular, by considering very specific and newly developed lattice structures, we are able to show that -- contrary to the popular opinion -- spatial correlations in the number of interacting neighbours are not a key measure for predicting whether disorder ultimately alters the behaviour of a given critical system.

In the past few years, two-dimensional quantum liquids with fractional excitations have been a topic of high interest due to their possible application in the emerging field of quantum computation and cryptography. This thesis is devoted to a deeper understanding of known and new fractional quantum Hall states and their stabilization in local models. We pursue two different paths, namely chiral spin liquids and fractionally quantized, topological phases.
The chiral spin liquid is one of the few examples of spin liquids with fractional statistics. Despite its numerous promising properties, the microscopic models for this state proposed so far are all based on non-local interactions, making the experimental realization challenging. In the first part of this thesis, we present the first local parent Hamiltonians, for which the Abelian and non-Abelian chiral spin liquids are the exact and, modulo a topological degeneracy, unique ground states. We have developed a systematic approach to find an annihilation operator of the chiral spin liquid and construct from it a many-body interaction which establishes locality. For various system sizes and lattice geometries, we numerically find largely gapped eigenspectra and confirm to an accuracy of machine precision the uniqueness of the chiral spin liquid as ground state of the respective system. Our results provide an exact spin model in which fractional quantization can be studied.
Topological insulators are one of the most actively studied topics in current condensed matter physics research. With the discovery of the topological insulator, one question emerged: Is there an interaction-driven set of fractionalized phases with time reversal symmetry? One intuitive approach to the theoretical construction of such a fractional topological insulator is to take the direct product of a fractional quantum Hall state and its time reversal conjugate. However, such states are well studied conceptually and do not lead to new physics, as the idea of taking a state and its mirror image together without any entanglement between the states has been well understood in the context of topological insulators. Therefore, the community has been looking for ways to implement some topological interlocking between different spin species. Yet, for all practical purposes so far, time reversal symmetry has appeared to limit the set of possible fractional states to those with no interlocking between the two spin species.
In the second part of this thesis, we propose a new universality class of fractionally quantized, topologically ordered insulators, which we name “fractional insulator”. Inspired by the fractional quantum Hall effect, spin liquids, and fractional Chern insulators, we develop a wave function approach to a new class of topological order in a two-dimensional crystal of spin-orbit coupled electrons. The idea is simply to allow the topological order to violate time reversal symmetry, while all locally observable quantities remain time reversal invariant. We refer to this situation as “topological time reversal symmetry breaking”. Our state is based on the Halperin double layer states and can be viewed as a two-layer system of an ↑-spin and a ↓-spin sphere. The construction starts off with Laughlin states for the ↑-spin and ↓-spin electrons and an interflavor term, which creates correlations between the two layers. With a careful parameter choice, we obtain a state preserving time reversal symmetry locally, and label it the “311-state”. For systems of up to six ↑-spin and six ↓-spin electrons, we manage to construct an approximate parent Hamiltonian with a physically realistic, local interaction.

This Thesis investigates the interplay of a central degree of freedom with an environment. Thereby, the environment is prepared in a localized phase of matter.
The long-term aim of this setup is to store quantum information on the central degree of freedom while exploiting the advantages of localized systems.
These many-body localized systems fail to equilibrate under the description of thermodynamics, mostly due to disorder. Doing so, they form the most prominent phase of matter that violates the eigenstate thermalization hypothesis. Thus, many-body localized systems preserve information about an initial state until infinite times without the necessity to isolate the system.
This unique feature clearly suggests to store quantum information within localized environments, whenever isolation is impracticable.
After an introduction to the relevant concepts, this Thesis examines to which extent a localized phase of matter may exist at all if a central degree of freedom dismantles the notion of locality in the first place. To this end, a central spin is coupled to the disordered Heisenberg spin chain, which shows many-body localization. Furthermore, a noninteracting analog describing free fermions is discussed. Therein, an impurity is coupled to an Anderson localized environment.
It is found that in both cases, the presence of the central degree of freedom manifests in many properties of the localized environment. However, for a sufficiently weak coupling, quantum chaos, and thus, thermalization is absent. In fact, it is shown that the critical disorder, at which the metal-insulator transition of its environment occurs in the absence of the central degree of freedom, is modified by the coupling strength of the central degree of freedom. To demonstrate this, a phase diagram is derived.
Within the localized phase, logarithmic growth of entanglement entropy, a typical signature of many-body localized systems, is increased by the coupling to the central spin. This property is traced back to resonantly coupling spins within the localized Heisenberg chain and analytically derived in the absence of interactions. Thus, the studied model of free fermions is the first model without interactions that mimics the logarithmic spreading of entanglement entropy known from many-body localized systems.
Eventually, it is demonstrated that observables regarding the central spin significantly break the eigenstate thermalization hypothesis within the localized phase. Therefore, it is demonstrated how a central spin can be employed as a detector of many-body localization.