In our research we are interested in the dynamics in quantum many-body systems at the interface between quantum many-body theory, nonequilibrium physics, quantum information science, and machine learning.
This includes the development of a theory of dynamical quantum phase transitions, which is an attempt to extend elementary equilibrium concepts such as universality and scaling to the dynamical far-from equilibrium regime. Furthermore, our research includes topics such as many-body localization in interacting strongly disordered systems, entanglement in quantum many-body systems, or utilizing machine learning techniques as new tools in quantum many-body theory.
Below you can find a selection of recent research conducted in this group.
This experiment has been selected as one of the top ten breakthroughs in physics in the year 2016 by the magazine Physics World.
Gauge theories are fundamental to our understanding of interactions between the elementary constituents of matter as mediated by gauge bosons. However, computing the real-time dynamics in gauge theories is a notorious challenge for classical computational methods. In the spirit of Feynman's vision of a quantum simulator, this has recently stimulated theoretical effort to devise schemes for simulating such theories on engineered quantum-mechanical devices, with the difficulty that gauge invariance and the associated local conservation laws (Gauss laws) need to be implemented. Here we report the first experimental demonstration of a digital quantum simulation of a lattice gauge theory, by realising 1+1-dimensional quantum electrodynamics (Schwinger model) on a few-qubit trapped-ion quantum computer.
Quantum theory provides an extensive framework for the description of the equilibrium properties of quantum matter. Yet experiments in quantum simulators have now opened up a route towards generating quantum states beyond this equilibrium paradigm. While these states promise to show properties not constrained by equilibrium principles such as the equal a priori probability of the microcanonical ensemble, identifying general properties of nonequilibrium quantum dynamics remains a major challenge especially in view of the lack of conventional concepts such as free energies. The theory of dynamical quantum phase transitions attempts to identify such general principles by lifting the concept of phase transitions to coherent quantum real-time evolution. This review provides a pedagogical introduction to this field. Starting from the general setting of nonequilibrium dynamics in closed quantum many-body systems, we give the definition of dynamical quantum phase transitions as phase transitions in time with physical quantities becoming nonanalytic at critical times. We summarize the achieved theoretical advances as well as the first experimental observations, and furthermore provide an outlook onto major open questions as well as future directions of research.
A fundamental challenge in digital quantum simulation (DQS) is the control of inherent errors. These appear when discretizing the time evolution generated by the Hamiltonian of a quantum many-body system as a sequence of quantum gates, called Trotterization. Here, we show that quantum localization strongly bounds these errors for local observables. Consequently, for generic quantum many-body Hamiltonians, Trotter errors can become independent of system size and total simulation time. For local observables, DQS is thus intrinsically much more robust than what one might expect from known error bounds on the global many-body wave function. This robustness is characterized by a sharp threshold as a function of the Trotter step size. The threshold separates a regular region with controllable Trotter errors, where the system exhibits localization in the space of eigenstates of the time-evolution operator, from a quantum chaotic regime where the trajectory is quickly scrambled throughout the entire Hilbert space.
We introduce a method to efficiently study the dynamical properties of many-body localized systems in the regime of strong disorder and weak interactions. Our method reproduces qualitatively and quantitatively the real-time evolution with a polynomial effort in system size and independent of the desired time scales. We use our method to study quantum information propagation, correlation functions, and temporal fluctuations in one- and two-dimensional MBL systems. Moreover, we outline strategies for a further systematic improvement of the accuracy and we point out relations of our method to recent attempts to simulate the real-time dynamics of quantum many-body systems in classical or artificial neural networks.
We show how lattice gauge theories can display many-body localization dynamics in the absence of disorder. Our starting point is the observation that, for some generic translationally invariant states, Gauss law effectively induces a dynamics which can be described as a disorder average over gauge super-selection sectors. We carry out extensive exact simulations on the real-time dynamics of a lattice Schwinger model, describing the coupling between U(1) gauge fields and staggered fermions. Our results show how memory effects and slow entanglement growth are present in a broad regime of parameters - in particular, for sufficiently large interactions. These findings are immediately relevant to cold atoms and trapped ions experiments realizing dynamical gauge fields, and suggest a new and universal link between confinement and entanglement dynamics in the many-body localized phase of lattice models.
The efficient representation of quantum many-body states with classical resources is a key challenge in quantum many-body theory. In this work we analytically construct classical networks for the description of the quantum dynamics in transverse-field Ising models that can be solved efficiently using Monte-Carlo techniques. Our perturbative construction encodes time-evolved quantum states of spin-1/2 systems in a network of classical spins with local couplings and can be directly generalized to other spin systems and higher spins. Using this construction we compute the transient dynamics in one, two, and three dimensions including local observables, entanglement production, and Loschmidt amplitudes using Monte-Carlo algorithms and demonstrate the accuracy of this approach by comparisons to exact results. We include a mapping to equivalent artificial neural networks.