Poteshman, Abigail N.; Mathieu Ouellet; Lee C. Bassett and Danielle S. Bassett
Across all scales of the physical world, dynamical systems can often be usefully represented as abstract networks that encode the system’s units and inter- unit interactions. Understanding how physical rules shape the topological structure of those networks can clarify a system’s function and enhance our ability to design, guide, or control its behavior. In the emerging area of quantum network science, a key challenge lies in distinguishing between the topological properties that reflect a system’s underlying physics and those that reflect the assumptions of the employed conceptual model. To elucidate and address this challenge, we study networks that represent non-equilibrium quantum-electronic transport through quantum antidot devices — an example of an open, mesoscopic quantum system. The network representations correspond to two different models of internal antidot states: a single-particle, non- interacting model and an effective model for collective excitations including Coulomb interactions. In these networks, nodes represent accessible energy states and edges represent allowed transitions. We find that both models reflect spin conservation rules in the network topology through bipartiteness and the presence of only even-length cycles. The models diverge, however, in the minimum length of cycle basis elements, in a manner that depends on whether electrons are considered to be distinguishable. Furthermore, the two models reflect spin-conserving relaxation effects differently, as evident in both the degree distribution and the cycle-basis length distribution. Collectively, these observations serve to elucidate the relationship between network structure and physical constraints in quantum-mechanical models. More generally, our approach underscores the utility of network science in understanding the dynamics and control of quantum systems.