Entanglement in low-dimensional quantum systems
Mon, Dec. 12th 2011, 14:00
Salle Claude Itzykson, Bât. 774, Orme des Merisiers
In recent years, it has been understood that entanglement measures can be useful tools for the understanding and characterization of new and exotic phases of matter, especially when the study of order parameters alone proves insufficient. This thesis is devoted to the study of a few low-dimensional quantum systems where this is the case. Among these measures, the entanglement entropy, defined through a bipartition of the quantum system, has been perhaps one of the most heavily studied, especially in one dimension. Such a quantity is usually very difficult to compute in dimension larger than one, but we show that for a particular class of wave functions, named after Rokhsar and Kivelson, the entanglement entropy of an infinite cylinder cut into two parts simplifies considerably. It can be expressed as the Shannon entropy of the probability distribution resulting from the ground-state wave function of a one-dimensional quantum system. This dimensional reduction allows for a detailed numerical study (free fermion, exact diagonalizations) as well as an analytic treatment, using conformal field theory (CFT) techniques. We also argue that this approach can give an easy access to some refined universal features of a given wave function in general. \ Another part of this thesis deals with the study of local quantum quenches in one-dimensional critical systems. The emphasis is put on the Loschmidt echo, the overlap between the wave function before the quench and the wave function at time t after the quench. Because of the commensurability of the CFT spectrum, the time evolution turns out to be periodic, and can be obtained analytically in various cases. Inspired by these results, we also study the probability to measure the ground-state energy immediately after the quench. It can be expressed as a simple overlap -- which we name bipartite fidelity -- and can be studied in its own right. We show that despite its simple definition, it mimics the behavior of the entanglement entropy very well. In particular when the one-dimensional system is critical, this fidelity decays algebraically with the system size, reminiscent of Anderson's celebrated orthogonality catastrophe. The exponent is universal and related to the central charge of the underlying CFT.