Undergraduate Honors Thesis Projects

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Paper

Degree Name





Dr. David G. Robertson

First Committee Member

Dr. Uwe Trittmann

Second Committee Member

Dr. Meredith Frey


Husimi Function, Coupled Oscillators, Wei-Norman, Wigner Function, Quantum Dynamics

Subject Categories

Physics | Quantum Physics


My research has three main foci, one which is of interest to the fields of quantum information and quantum optics is to characterize the effects of coupling between quantum systems. Advances in technology made since the conception of quantum mechanics spurred the development of quantum technologies like quantum optics and quantum computing. These applications require a good understanding of the quantum systems that compose them, and the clever ways in which the information in these systems is stored and manipulated. By understanding the ways which quantum systems interact with their environment, their usefulness can be further utilized. The second is to develop methods of calculation which simplify the calculational and computational side of quantum dynamics. Understanding how quantum systems evolve in time is very important, but traditional methods of solving for the dynamics of quantum systems struggle to deal with time dependent parameters. Using results from the theory of Lie algebras, I will show how quantum dynamics problems can be made less computationally intensive by avoiding the partial differential equations typically associated with such problems and reducing the problem to a system of coupled ordinary differential equations. The third focus is to develop methods of visualizing properties of quantum systems. I think this is important as an educational tool and as a way to develop intuition about how quantum systems evolve considering how few opportunities there are to visualize quantum effects on a macroscopic scale. This problem is particularly challenging because quantum mechanics is non-deterministic, meaning that the only nontrivial definitive statements that can be made regarding quantum systems deal with probabilities. This coupled with the fact that many of the systems of interest depend on upwards of six variables and also evolve in time make creating useful visual representations challenging. Despite the challenges, I feel that useful insights can be gained from the visualizations, and will illustrate a few examples.