Robustness of many-body localization in the presence of dissipation
Levi, Emanuele and Heyl, Markus and Lesanovsky, Igor and Garrahan, Juan P. (2016) Robustness of many-body localization in the presence of dissipation. Physical Review Letters, 116 . 237203/1-237203/5. ISSN 1079-7114
Many-body localization (MBL) has emerged as a novel paradigm for robust ergodicity breaking in closed quantum many-body systems. However, it is not yet clear to which extent MBL survives in the presence of dissipative processes induced by the coupling to an environment. Here we study heating and ergodicity for a paradigmatic MBL system---an interacting fermionic chain subject to quenched disorder---in the presence of dephasing. We find that, even though the system is eventually driven into an infinite-temperature state, heating as monitored by the von Neumann entropy can progress logarithmically slowly, implying exponentially large time scales for relaxation. This slow loss of memory of initial conditions make signatures of non-ergodicity visible over a long, but transient, time regime. We point out a potential controlled realization of the considered setup with cold atomic gases held in optical lattices.
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