First Passage Times for Continuous Quantum Measurement Currents


The First Passage Time (FPT) is the time taken for a stochastic process to reach a desired threshold. It finds wide application in various fields and has recently become particularly important in stochastic thermodynamics, due to its relation to kinetic uncertainty relations (KURs). In this letter we address the FPT of the stochastic measurement current in the case of continuously measured quantum systems. Our approach is based on a charge-resolved master equation, which is related to the Full-Counting statistics of charge detection. In the quantum jump unravelling we show that this takes the form of a coupled system of master equations, while for quantum diffusion it becomes a type of quantum Fokker-Planck equation. In both cases, we show that the FPT can be obtained by introducing absorbing boundary conditions, making their computation extremely efficient. The versatility of our framework is demonstrated with two relevant examples. First, we show how our method can be used to study the tightness of recently proposed KURs for quantum jumps. Second, we study the homodyne detection of a single two-level atom, and show how our approach can unveil various non-trivial features in the FPT distribution.