Entanglement Phase Transitions in Measurement-Only Dynamics

TitleEntanglement Phase Transitions in Measurement-Only Dynamics
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsIppoliti, M, Gullans, M, Gopalakrishnan, S, Huse, DA, Khemani, V
JournalPhysical Review X
Date Published1/2/2021

Unitary circuits subject to repeated projective measurements can undergo an entanglement phase transition (EPT) as a function of the measurement rate. This transition is generally understood in terms of a competition between the scrambling effects of unitary dynamics and the disentangling effects of measurements. We find that, surprisingly, EPTs are possible even in the absence of scrambling unitary dynamics, where they are best understood as arising from measurements alone. This motivates us to introduce \emph{measurement-only models}, in which the "scrambling" and "un-scrambling" effects driving the EPT are fundamentally intertwined and cannot be attributed to physically distinct processes. This represents a novel form of an EPT, conceptually distinct from that in hybrid unitary-projective circuits. We explore the entanglement phase diagrams, critical points, and quantum code properties of some of these measurement-only models. We find that the principle driving the EPTs in these models is \emph{frustration}, or mutual incompatibility, of the measurements. Suprisingly, an entangling (volume-law) phase is the generic outcome when measuring sufficiently long but still local (≳3-body) operators. We identify a class of exceptions to this behavior ("bipartite ensembles") which cannot sustain an entangling phase, but display dual area-law phases, possibly with different kinds of quantum order, separated by self-dual critical points. Finally, we introduce a measure of information spreading in dynamics with measurements and use it to demonstrate the emergence of a statistical light-cone, despite the non-locality inherent to quantum measurements.

Short TitlePhys. Rev. X