Non-equilibrium dynamics in quantum and classical many-body spin systems: strong zero modes and large deviations

Vasiloiu, Loredana Mihaela (2020) Non-equilibrium dynamics in quantum and classical many-body spin systems: strong zero modes and large deviations. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The work presented in this thesis is divided into two main parts: strong zero modes in quantum spin chains with open boundaries and large deviations in classical spin systems.

The results concerning the strong zero modes are presented in chapters 2 and 3, while chapter 4 contains the results about large deviations in systems of many, but independent, classical degrees of freedom. These two distinct classes of problems in spin chains are both about aspects of slow relaxation to equilibrium in many-body systems.

Nowadays slow dynamics and non-ergodicity in many-body quantum systems are receiving much attention due to their notable technological potential for storing and processing, for very long times, the quantum information encoded in boundary degrees of freedom.

In the first part of the work presented in this thesis we mainly focus on quantum spin chains with open boundaries, which can display coherence times for edge spins, that diverge with the system size, as a consequence of the emergence, in the thermodynamic limit, of conserved local quantities, called strong zero modes. First, we discuss the fate of these coherence times when dynamics becomes dissipative. Understanding the behavior of these long correlation times in open quantum systems, undergoing Markovian (memoryless) dynamics, would allow for the possibility of exploiting the protected information encoded in the boundary spins for applications in quantum devices in realistic non-equilibrium settings. Second, we study one possible simple generalization of the transverse field Ising model to a class of ladder spin systems with plaquette interactions in the presence of a transverse field. Also for these systems one can explicitly construct the strong zero mode operators and understand the behavior of the consequential long coherence times for the edge degrees of freedom under isolated (unitary) dynamics. This is possible because the models we consider, while appearing complex superficially, can be brought to simple forms by exploiting an extensive number of conserved quantities they possess.

The results presented in chapters 2 and 3 are closely related, even if they focus on different models and investigate different aspects of their dynamics. Nevertheless, the underlying concept they are based on is the same one, that is, an eigenstate phase transition for the strong zero modes that has interesting consequences for the full energy spectrum.

In the second part of the thesis we focus on a different type of phase transitions. Here we address the issue of dynamical large deviation phase transitions from a disordered phase to an ordered one, in classical systems which consist in a collection of independent Ising spins evolving stochastically. Surprisingly, by reweighing trajectories accordingly to a certain type of time-integrated observable, even a system of independently evolving spins can display some critical behavior, at the fluctuation level, in trajectory space in the large size and long time limit. By making use of the tilted generator techniques we study the statistics of two particular time-integrated observables. Their associated tilted generators have an exact Kramers-Wannier duality and they look like, up to a sign and an additive constant, some specific well known quantum Hamiltonians. In this sense, the dynamical large deviation phase transitions we observe in these classical stochastic systems translate in ground state quantum phase transitions taking place at the self dual point of the tilted generators we study.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Garrahan, Juan
Lesanovsky, Igor
Keywords: Many-body spin systems, Quantum spin chains, Classical spin systems
Subjects: Q Science > QC Physics > QC170 Atomic physics. Constitution and properties of matter
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Physics and Astronomy
Item ID: 60843
Depositing User: Vasiloiu, Loredana
Date Deposited: 25 Aug 2020 13:36
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2020 13:36

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