Local Kekulé distortion turns twisted bilayer graphene into topological Mott insulators and superconductors

Blason A., Magic-angle twisted bilayer graphene displays at different fillings of the four flat bands lying around the charge neutrality point a wealth of notable phases that include magnetic Chern insulators, whose magnetization is mostly of an orbital nature and contiguous superconducting domes. Such a rich phase diagram is explained through the positive interplay of Coulomb repulsion and the electron coupling to a twofold optical mode that corresponds to Kekulé distortions localized into the small AA stacked regions of the moiré supercells. A static distortion stabilizes, at any integer filling of the flat bands, valence-bond insulators that carry finite Chern number away from charge neutrality. Similarly, a dynamic distortion that resonates between the two lattice vibrations leads to resonating-valence-bond topological insulators with built-in chiral d-wave pairs that have finite Chern number equal to the angular momentum, and thus are prone to turn superconducting upon doping away from integer filling.

Avoiding barren plateaus via transferability of smooth solutions in a Hamiltonian variational ansatz

Mele A.A., Mbeng G.B., A large ongoing research effort focuses on variational quantum algorithms (VQAs), representing leading candidates to achieve computational speed-ups on current quantum devices. The scalability of VQAs to a large number of qubits, beyond the simulation capabilities of classical computers, is still debated. Two major hurdles are the proliferation of low-quality variational local minima, and the exponential vanishing of gradients in the cost-function landscape, a phenomenon referred to as barren plateaus. In this work, we show that by employing iterative search schemes, one can effectively prepare the ground state of paradigmatic quantum many-body models, also circumventing the barren plateau phenomenon. This is accomplished by leveraging the transferability to larger system sizes of a class of iterative solutions, displaying an intrinsic smoothness of the variational parameters, a result that does not extend to other solutions found via random-start local optimization. Our scheme could be directly tested on near-term quantum devices, running a refinement optimization in a favorable local landscape with nonvanishing gradients.

Erratum: Exact quench dynamics of symmetry resolved entanglement in a free fermion chain (J. Stat. Mech. (2021) 093102 DOI: 10.1088/1742-5468/ac21d7)

Parez G., Bonsignori R., The study of the entanglement dynamics plays a fundamental role in understanding the behaviour of many-body quantum systems out of equilibrium. In the presence of a globally conserved charge, further insights are provided by the knowledge of the resolution of entanglement in the various symmetry sectors. Here, we carry on the program we initiated in Parez et al (2021 Phys. Rev. B 103 L041104), for the study of the time evolution of the symmetry resolved entanglement in free fermion systems. We complete and extend our derivations also by defining and quantifying a symmetry resolved mutual information. The entanglement entropies display a time delay that depends on the charge sector that we characterise exactly. Both entanglement entropies and mutual information show effective equipartition in the scaling limit of large time and subsystem size. Furthermore, we argue that the behaviour of the charged entropies can be quantitatively understood in the framework of the quasiparticle picture for the spreading of entanglement, and hence we expect that a proper adaptation of our results should apply to a large class of integrable systems. We also find that the number entropy grows logarithmically with time before saturating to a value proportional to the logarithm of the subsystem size.

Modular conjugations in 2D conformal field theory and holographic bit threads

Mintchev M., We study the geometric action of some modular conjugations in two dimensional (2D) conformal field theories. We investigate the bipartition given by an interval when the system is in the ground state, either on the line or on the circle, and in the thermal Gibbs state on the line. We find that the restriction of the corresponding inversion maps to a spatial slice is obtained also in the gauge/gravity correspondence through the geodesic bit threads in a constant time slice of the dual static asymptotically AdS background. For a conformal field theory in the thermal state on the line, the modular conjugation suggests the occurrence of a second world which can be related through the geodesic bit threads to the horizon of the BTZ black brane background. An inversion map is constructed also for the massless Dirac fermion in the ground state and on the line bipartite by the union of two disjoint intervals.

Dissipative time crystals with long-range Lindbladians

Passarelli G., Lucignano P., Dissipative time crystals can appear in spin systems, when the Z2 symmetry of the Hamiltonian is broken by the environment, and the square of total spin operator S2 is conserved. In this paper, we relax the latter condition and show that time-translation-symmetry-breaking collective oscillations persist, in the thermodynamic limit, even in the absence of spin symmetry. We engineer an ad hoc Lindbladian using power-law-decaying spin operators and show that time-translation-symmetry breaking appears when the decay exponent obeys 0<η≤1. This model shows a surprisingly rich phase diagram, including the time-crystal phase as well as first-order, second-order, and continuous transitions of the fixed points. We study the phase diagram and the magnetization dynamics in the mean-field approximation. We prove that this approximation is quantitatively accurate, when 0<η<1 and the thermodynamic limit is taken, because the system does not develop sizable quantum fluctuations, if the Gaussian approximation is considered.

Stationary states of open XX -spin chains

We study an open quantum spin chain of arbitrary length with nearest neighbor XX interactions of strength g, immersed in an external constant magnetic field Δ along the z direction, whose end spins are weakly coupled to two heat baths at different temperatures. In the so-called global approach, namely, without neglecting interspin interactions, using standard weak-coupling limit techniques, we first derive the open chain master equation written in terms of fermionic mode operators. Then, we focus on the study of the dependence of the resulting open dynamics from the ratio rg/Δ. By increasing r, some of the chain Bohr transition frequencies become negative; when this occurs, both the generator of the dissipative time evolution and its stationary states behave discontinuously. As a consequence, the asymptotic spin and heat flows also exhibit discontinuities, but in a different way: while source terms in the spin flow continuity equation show jumps, the heat flow instead is continuous but with discontinuous first derivatives with respect to r. These two behaviors might be experimentally accessible; in particular, they could discriminate between the global and the local approaches to open quantum spin chains. Indeed, the latter one, which neglects interspin interactions in the derivation of the master equation, does not show any kind of discontinuous behavior.

High-precision anomalous dimension of three-dimensional percolation and spatial profile of the critical giant cluster

Galvani A., In three-dimensional percolation, we apply and test the critical geometry approach for bounded critical phenomena based on the fractional Yamabe equation. The method predicts the functional shape of the order parameter profile φ, which is obtained by raising the solution of the Yamabe equation to the scaling dimension Δφ. The latter can be fixed from outcomes of numerical simulations, from which we obtain Δφ=0.47846(71) and the corresponding value of the anomalous dimension η=-0.0431(14). The comparison with values of η determined by using scaling relations is discussed. A test of hyperscaling is also performed.

Cold atoms in space: community workshop summary and proposed road-map

Alonso I., Alpigiani C., Altschul B., Araújo H., Arduini G., Arlt J., Badurina L., Balaž A., Bandarupally S., Barish B.C., Barone M., Barsanti M., Bass S., We summarise the discussions at a virtual Community Workshop on Cold Atoms in Space concerning the status of cold atom technologies, the prospective scientific and societal opportunities offered by their deployment in space, and the developments needed before cold atoms could be operated in space. The cold atom technologies discussed include atomic clocks, quantum gravimeters and accelerometers, and atom interferometers. Prospective applications include metrology, geodesy and measurement of terrestrial mass change due to, e.g., climate change, and fundamental science experiments such as tests of the equivalence principle, searches for dark matter, measurements of gravitational waves and tests of quantum mechanics. We review the current status of cold atom technologies and outline the requirements for their space qualification, including the development paths and the corresponding technical milestones, and identifying possible pathfinder missions to pave the way for missions to exploit the full potential of cold atoms in space. Finally, we present a first draft of a possible road-map for achieving these goals, that we propose for discussion by the interested cold atom, Earth Observation, fundamental physics and other prospective scientific user communities, together with the European Space Agency (ESA) and national space and research funding agencies.

A way forward for fundamental physics in space

Space-based research can provide a major leap forward in the study of key open questions in the fundamental physics domain. They include the validity of Einstein’s Equivalence principle, the origin and the nature of dark matter and dark energy, decoherence and collapse models in quantum mechanics, and the physics of quantum many-body systems. Cold-atom sensors and quantum technologies have drastically changed the approach to precision measurements. Atomic clocks and atom interferometers as well as classical and quantum links can be used to measure tiny variations of the space-time metric, elusive accelerations, and faint forces to test our knowledge of the physical laws ruling the Universe. In space, such instruments can benefit from unique conditions that allow improving both their precision and the signal to be measured. In this paper, we discuss the scientific priorities of a space-based research program in fundamental physics.

Nanoscale self-organization and metastable non-thermal metallicity in Mott insulators

Ronchi A., Franceschini P., De Poli A., Homm P., Fitzpatrick A., Maccherozzi F., Ferrini G., Banfi F., Dhesi S.S., Menghini M., Mott transitions in real materials are first order and almost always associated with lattice distortions, both features promoting the emergence of nanotextured phases. This nanoscale self-organization creates spatially inhomogeneous regions, which can host and protect transient non-thermal electronic and lattice states triggered by light excitation. Here, we combine time-resolved X-ray microscopy with a Landau-Ginzburg functional approach for calculating the strain and electronic real-space configurations. We investigate V2O3, the archetypal Mott insulator in which nanoscale self-organization already exists in the low-temperature monoclinic phase and strongly affects the transition towards the high-temperature corundum metallic phase. Our joint experimental-theoretical approach uncovers a remarkable out-of-equilibrium phenomenon: the photo-induced stabilisation of the long sought monoclinic metal phase, which is absent at equilibrium and in homogeneous materials, but emerges as a metastable state solely when light excitation is combined with the underlying nanotexture of the monoclinic lattice.

Emergent quasiparticles at Luttinger surfaces

In periodic systems of interacting electrons, Fermi and Luttinger surfaces refer to the locations within the Brillouin zone of poles and zeros, respectively, of the single-particle Green’s function at zero energy and temperature. Such difference in analytic properties underlies the emergence of well-defined quasiparticles close to a Fermi surface, in contrast to their supposed non-existence close to a Luttinger surface, where the single-particle density-of-states vanishes at zero energy. We here show that, contrary to such common belief, dispersive ‘quasiparticles’ with infinite lifetime do exist also close to a pseudo-gapped Luttinger surface. Thermodynamic and dynamic properties of such ‘quasiparticles’ are just those of conventional ones. For instance, they yield well-defined quantum oscillations in Luttinger surface and linear-in-temperature specific heat, which is striking given the vanishing density of states of physical electrons, but actually not uncommon in strongly correlated materials.

Variations on vacuum decay: The scaling Ising and tricritical Ising field theories

Lencsés M., We study the decay of the false vacuum in the scaling Ising and tricritical Ising field theories using the truncated conformal space approach and compare the numerical results to theoretical predictions in the thin wall limit. In the Ising case, the results are consistent with previous studies on the quantum spin chain and the φ4 quantum field theory; in particular, we confirm that while the theoretical predictions get the dependence of the bubble nucleation rate on the latent heat right, they are off by a model-dependent overall coefficient. The tricritical Ising model allows us on the other hand to examine more exotic vacuum degeneracy structures, such as three vacua or two asymmetric vacua, which leads us to study several novel scenarios of false vacuum decay by lifting the vacuum degeneracy using different perturbations.

Gauge-Theoretic Origin of Rydberg Quantum Spin Liquids

Tarabunga P.S., Surace F.M., Andreoni R., Angelone A., Recent atomic physics experiments and numerical works have reported complementary signatures of the emergence of a topological quantum spin liquid in models with blockade interactions. However, the specific mechanism stabilizing such a phase remains unclear. Here, we introduce an exact relation between an Ising-Higgs lattice gauge theory on the kagome lattice and blockaded models on Ruby lattices. This relation elucidates the origin of previously observed topological spin liquids by directly linking the latter to a deconfined phase of a solvable gauge theory. By means of exact diagonalization and unbiased quantum Monte Carlo simulations, we show that the deconfined phases extend in a broad region of the parameter space; these states are characterized by a large ground state overlap with resonating valence bond wave functions. These blockaded models include both creation or annihilation and hopping dynamics, and can be experimentally realized with Rydberg-dressed atoms, offering novel and controllable platforms for the engineering and characterization of spin liquid states.

Electrostatic solution of massless quenches in Luttinger liquids

Ruggiero P., The study of non-equilibrium dynamics of many-body systems after a quantum quench received a considerable boost and a deep theoretical understanding from the path integral formulation in imaginary time. However, the celebrated problem of a quench in the Luttinger parameter of a one dimensional quantum critical system (massless quench) has so far only been solved in the real-time Heisenberg picture. In order to bridge this theoretical gap and to understand on the same ground massive and massless quenches, we study the problem of a gaussian field characterized by a coupling parameter K within a strip and a different one K0 in the remaining two semi-infinite planes. We give a fully analytical solution using the electrostatic analogy with the problem of a dielectric material within a strip surrounded by an infinite medium of different dielectric constant, and exploiting the method of charge images. After analytic continuation, this solution allows us to obtain all the correlation functions after the quench within a path integral approach in imaginary time, thus recovering and generalizing the results in real time. Furthermore, this imaginary-time approach establishes a remarkable connection between the quench and the famous problem of the conductivity of a Tomonaga-Luttinger liquid coupled to two semi-infinite leads: the two are in fact related by a rotation of the spacetime coordinates.

Rényi entropy and negativity for massless complex boson at conformal interfaces and junctions

Capizzi L., Murciano S., We consider the ground state of a theory composed by M species of massless complex bosons in one dimension coupled together via a conformal interface. We compute both the Rényi entropy and the negativity of a generic partition of wires, generalizing the approach developed in a recent work for free fermions. These entanglement measures show a logarithmic growth with the system size, and the universal prefactor depends both on the details of the interface and the bipartition. We test our analytical predictions against exact numerical results for the harmonic chain.

Possible limits on superconducting quantum computers from spontaneous wave-function collapse models

Vischi M., Ferialdi L., The continuous spontaneous localization (CSL) model is an alternative formulation of quantum mechanics, which introduces a noise-coupled nonlinearly to the wave function to account for its collapse. We consider CSL effects on quantum computers made of superconducting transmon qubits. As a direct effect CSL reduces quantum superpositions of the computational basis states of the qubits: we show the reduction rate to be negligibly small. However, an indirect effect of CSL, dissipation induced by the noise, also leads transmon qubits to decohere, by generating additional quasiparticles. Since the decoherence rate of transmon qubits depends on the quasiparticle density, by computing their generation rate induced by CSL, we can estimate the corresponding quasiparticle density and thus the limit set by CSL on the performances of transmon quantum computers. We show that CSL could spoil the quantum computation of practical algorithms on large devices. We further explore the possibility of testing CSL effects on superconducting devices.

Free fall of a quantum many-body system

Colcelli A., The quantum version of the free fall problem is a topic often skipped in undergraduate quantum mechanics courses, because its discussion usually requires wavepackets built on the Airy functions-a difficult computation. Here, on the contrary, we show that the problem can be nicely simplified both for a single particle and for general many-body systems by making use of a gauge transformation that corresponds to a change of reference frame from the laboratory frame to the one comoving with the falling system. Using this approach, the quantum mechanics problem of a particle in an external gravitational potential reduces to a much simpler one where there is no longer any gravitational potential in the Schrödinger equation. It is instructive to see that the same procedure can be used for many-body systems subjected to an external gravitational potential and a two-body interparticle potential that is a function of the distance between the particles. This topic provides a helpful and pedagogical example of a quantum many-body system whose dynamics can be analytically described in simple terms.

Entanglement Hamiltonians: From Field Theory to Lattice Models and Experiments

Results about entanglement (or modular) Hamiltonians of quantum many-body systems in field theory and statistical mechanics models, and recent applications in the context of quantum information and quantum simulation, are reviewed. In the first part of the review, what is known about entanglement Hamiltonians of ground states (vacua) in quantum field theory is summarized, based on the Bisognano–Wichmann theorem and its extension to conformal field theory. This is complemented with a more rigorous mathematical discussion of the Bisognano–Wichmann theorem, within the framework of Tomita–Takesaki theorem of modular groups. The second part of the review is devoted to lattice models. There, exactly soluble cases are first considered and then the discussion is extended to non-integrable models, whose entanglement Hamiltonian is often well captured by the lattice version of the Bisognano–Wichmann theorem. In the last part of the review, recently developed applications in quantum information processing that rely upon the specific properties of entanglement Hamiltonians in many-body systems are summarized. These include protocols to measure entanglement spectra, and schemes to perform state tomography.

Phase diagram of Rydberg-dressed atoms on two-leg triangular ladders

Fromholz P., Tsitsishvili M., Votto M., Dressed Rydberg atoms in optical lattices are a promising platform for the quantum simulation of intriguing phenomena emerging in strongly interacting systems. Relevant to such a setup, we investigate the phase diagram of hard-core bosons in a triangular ladder with next-to-nearest-neighbor interaction along each leg and nearest-neighbor interactions without hopping between the legs. For weak interactions, Abelian bosonization predicts a spin density wave and a fully gapless Luttinger liquid phase. Such liquids transition to a "spin-locked"cluster Luttinger liquid at strong interactions along each leg, as predicted by cluster bosonization. Interestingly, the competition with the zigzag interaction generates a charge density wave, a "polarized holonic"phase, and a crystalline phase at the filling 2/5, that we address via a semiclassical perturbative approach. Exact diagonalization and density matrix renormalization group simulations confirm the predictions and further characterize the phases and their transitions.

Critical light-matter entanglement at cavity mediated phase transitions

Chiriacò G., We consider a model of a light-matter system, in which a system of fermions (or bosons) is coupled to a photonic mode that drives phase transitions in the matter degrees of freedom. Starting from a simplified analytical model, we show that the entanglement between light and matter vanishes at small and large coupling strength and shows a peak in the proximity of the transition. We perform numerical simulations for a specific model (relevant to both solid state and cold atom platforms) and show that the entanglement displays critical behavior at the transition and features maximum susceptibility, as demonstrated by a maximal entanglement capacity. Remarkably, light-matter entanglement provides direct access to critical exponents, suggesting another approach to measure universal properties without direct matter probes.