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Accueil du site > Publications > Publications 2011 > Out-of-equilibrium correlated systems : Bipartite entanglement as a probe of thermalization

Out-of-equilibrium correlated systems : Bipartite entanglement as a probe of thermalization

Didier Poilblanc

par Didier Poilblanc - 12 novembre 2010

Thermalization plays a central role in out-of-equilibrium physics of ultracold atoms or electronic transport phenomena. On the other hand, entanglement concepts have proven to be extremely useful to investigate quantum phases of matter. Here, it is argued that bipartite entanglement measures provide key information on out-of-equilibrium states and might therefore offer stringent thermalization criteria. This is illustrated by considering a global quench in an (extended) XXZ spin-1/2 chain across its (zero-temperature) quantum critical point. A nonlocal bipartition of the chain preserving translation symmetry is proposed. The time evolution after the quench of the reduced density matrix of the half-system is computed and its associated (time-dependent) entanglement spectrum is analyzed. Generically, the corresponding entanglement entropy quickly reaches a “plateau” after a short transient regime. However, in the case of the integrable XXZ chain, the low-energy entanglement spectrum still reveals strong time fluctuations. In addition, its infinite-time average shows strong deviations from the spectrum of a Boltzmann thermal density matrix. In contrast, when the integrability of the model is broken (by small next-nearest-neighbor couplings), the entanglement spectra of the time average and thermal density matrices become remarkably similar.