Purdue University Graduate School
KautubhSAgarwal_PhDThesis3.pdf (12.07 MB)


Download (12.07 MB)
posted on 2022-09-08, 11:49 authored by Kaustubh Shrikant AgarwalKaustubh Shrikant Agarwal

Over the past two decades, open systems that are described by a non-Hermitian Hamiltonian have become a subject of intense research. These systems encompass classical wave systems with balanced gain and loss, semi-classical models with mode selective losses, and lossy quantum systems. The rapidly growing research on these systems has mainly focused on the wide range of novel functionalities they demonstrate. In this thesis, I intend to present some intriguing properties of a class of open systems which possess parity (P) and time-reversal (T) symmetry with a theoretical background, accompanied by the experimental platform these are realized on. These systems show distinct regions of broken and unbroken symmetries separated by a special phase boundary in the parameter space. This separating boundary is called the PT-breaking threshold or the PT transition threshold.

We investigate non-Hermitian systems in two settings: tight binding lattice models, and electrical circuits, with the help of theoretical and numerical techniques. 

With lattice models, we explore the PT-symmetry breaking threshold in discrete realizations of systems with balanced gain and loss which is determined by the effective coupling between the gain and loss sites. In one-dimensional chains, this threshold is maximum when the two sites are closest to each other or the farthest. We investigate the fate of this threshold in the presence of parallel, strongly coupled, Hermitian (neutral) chains, and find that it is increased by a factor proportional to the number of neutral chains. These results provide a surprising way to engineer the PT threshold in experimentally accessible samples.

In another example, we investigate the PT-threshold for a one-dimensional, finite Kitaev chain—a prototype for a p-wave superconductor— in the presence of a single pair of gain and loss potentials as a function of the superconducting order parameter, onsite potential, and the distance between the gain and loss sites. In addition to a robust, non-local

threshold, we find a rich phase diagram for the threshold that can be qualitatively understood in terms of the band-structure of the Hermitian Kitaev model.

Finally, with electrical circuits, we propose a protocol to study the properties of a PT-symmetric system in a single LC oscillator circuit which is contrary to the notion that these systems require a pair of spatially separated balanced gain and loss elements. With a dynamically tunable LC oscillator with synthetically constructed circuit elements, we demonstrate static and

Floquet PT breaking transitions by tracking the energy of the circuit. Distinct from traditional mechanisms to implement gain and loss, our protocol enables parity-time symmetry in a minimal classical system.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Physics and Astronomy

Campus location

  • Indianapolis

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Yogesh N. Joglekar

Additional Committee Member 2

Gautam Vemuri

Additional Committee Member 3

Zhe “Jeff” Ou

Additional Committee Member 4

Horia I. Petrache

Additional Committee Member 5

Joseph Lukens

Usage metrics



    Ref. manager