The many-body localization transition in quasiperiodic systems has been extensively studied in recent ultracold atom experiments. At intermediate quasiperiodic potential strength, a surprising Griffiths-like regime with slow dynamics appears in the absence of random disorder and mobility edges. In this work, we study the interacting Aubry-Andre model, a prototype quasiperiodic system, as a function of incommensurate potential strength using a novel dynamical measure, information scrambling, in a large system of 200 lattice sites. Between the thermal phase and the many-body localized phase, we find an intermediate dynamical phase where the butterfly velocity is zero and information spreads in space as a power-law in time. This is in contrast to the ballistic spreading in the thermal phase and logarithmic spreading in the localized phase. We further investigate the entanglement structure of the many-body eigenstates in the intermediate phase and find strong fluctuations in eigenstate entanglement entropy within a given energy window, which is inconsistent with the eigenstate thermalization hypothesis. Machine-learning on the entanglement spectrum also reaches the same conclusion. Our large-scale simulations suggest that the intermediate phase with vanishing butterfly velocity could be responsible for the slow dynamics seen in recent experiments.

UR - https://arxiv.org/abs/1902.07199 ER - TY - JOUR T1 - The Speed of Quantum Information Spreading in Chaotic Systems Y1 - 2019 A1 - Josiah Couch A1 - Stefan Eccles A1 - Phuc Nguyen A1 - Brian Swingle A1 - Shenglong Xu AB -We present a general theory of quantum information propagation in chaotic quantum many-body systems. The generic expectation in such systems is that quantum information does not propagate in localized form; instead, it tends to spread out and scramble into a form that is inaccessible to local measurements. To characterize this spreading, we define an information speed via a quench-type experiment and derive a general formula for it as a function of the entanglement density of the initial state. As the entanglement density varies from zero to one, the information speed varies from the entanglement speed to the butterfly speed. We verify that the formula holds both for a quantum chaotic spin chain and in field theories with an AdS/CFT gravity dual. For the second case, we study in detail the dynamics of entanglement in two-sided Vaidya-AdS-Reissner-Nordstrom black branes. We also show that, with an appropriate decoding process, quantum information can be construed as moving at the information speed, and, in the case of AdS/CFT, we show that a locally detectable signal propagates at the information speed in a spatially local variant of the traversable wormhole setup.

UR - https://arxiv.org/abs/1908.06993 ER - TY - JOUR T1 - Accessing scrambling using matrix product operators Y1 - 2018 A1 - Shenglong Xu A1 - Brian Swingle AB -Scrambling, a process in which quantum information spreads over a complex quantum system becoming inaccessible to simple probes, happens in generic chaotic quantum many-body systems, ranging from spin chains, to metals, even to black holes. Scrambling can be measured using out-of-time-ordered correlators (OTOCs), which are closely tied to the growth of Heisenberg operators. In this work, we present a general method to calculate OTOCs of local operators in local one-dimensional systems based on approximating Heisenberg operators as matrix-product operators (MPOs). Contrary to the common belief that such tensor network methods work only at early times, we show that the entire early growth region of the OTOC can be captured using an MPO approximation with modest bond dimension. We analytically establish the goodness of the approximation by showing that if an appropriate OTOC is close to its initial value, then the associated Heisenberg operator has low entanglement across a given cut. We use the method to study scrambling in a chaotic spin chain with 201 sites. Based on this data and OTOC results for black holes, local random circuit models, and non-interacting systems, we conjecture a universal form for the dynamics of the OTOC near the wavefront. We show that this form collapses the chaotic spin chain data over more than fifteen orders of magnitude.

UR - https://arxiv.org/abs/1802.00801 ER - TY - JOUR T1 - Locality, Quantum Fluctuations, and Scrambling Y1 - 2018 A1 - Shenglong Xu A1 - Brian Swingle AB -Thermalization of chaotic quantum many-body systems under unitary time evolution is related to the growth in complexity of initially simple Heisenberg operators. Operator growth is a manifestation of information scrambling and can be diagnosed by out-of-time-order correlators (OTOCs). However, the behavior of OTOCs of local operators in generic chaotic local Hamiltonians remains poorly understood, with some semiclassical and large N models exhibiting exponential growth of OTOCs and a sharp chaos wavefront and other random circuit models showing a diffusively broadened wavefront. In this paper we propose a unified physical picture for scrambling in chaotic local Hamiltonians. We construct a random time-dependent Hamiltonian model featuring a large N limit where the OTOC obeys a Fisher-Kolmogorov-Petrovsky-Piskunov (FKPP) type equation and exhibits exponential growth and a sharp wavefront. We show that quantum fluctuations manifest as noise (distinct from the randomness of the couplings in the underlying Hamiltonian) in the FKPP equation and that the noise-averaged OTOC exhibits a cross-over to a diffusively broadened wavefront. At small N we demonstrate that operator growth dynamics, averaged over the random couplings, can be efficiently simulated for all time using matrix product state techniques. To show that time-dependent randomness is not essential to our conclusions, we push our previous matrix product operator methods to very large size and show that data for a time-independent Hamiltonian model are also consistent with a diffusively-broadened wavefront.

UR - https://arxiv.org/abs/1805.05376 ER - TY - JOUR T1 - Scrambling dynamics across a thermalization-localization quantum phase transition Y1 - 2018 A1 - Subhayan Sahu A1 - Shenglong Xu A1 - Brian Swingle AB -We study quantum information scrambling, specifically the growth of Heisenberg operators, in large disordered spin chains using matrix product operator dynamics to scan across the thermalization-localization quantum phase transition. We observe ballistic operator growth for weak disorder, and a sharp transition to a phase with sub-ballistic operator spreading. The critical disorder strength for the ballistic to sub-ballistic transition is well below the many body localization phase transition, as determined from finite size scaling of energy eigenstate entanglement entropy in small chains. In contrast, we find that the operator dynamics is not very sensitive to the actual eigenstate localization transition. These data are discussed in the context of a universal form for the growing operator shape and substantiated with a simple phenomenological model of rare regions.

UR - https://arxiv.org/abs/1807.06086 ER -