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Title: Minimal models of quantum chaotic many-body systems
Author: Chan, Amos
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2019
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Phenomena in quantum chaotic systems such as spectral fluctuations are known to be described remarkably well by the random matrix theory (RMT) in small energy intervals and over large time scales. However, in exchange for analytical tractability, RMT has been constructed to leave out an important element of realistic physical systems { the notion of locality. Since quantum information propagates at a finite speed in a spatially-extended quantum chaotic system, there exists time scales before which RMT is effective. How do we describe the non-equilibrium quantum dynamics at intermediate timescales which are much longer than the local relaxation time but too short for RMT to apply? What are the signatures of many-body quantum chaotic systems beyond the description of RMT? In this thesis, we address these questions by analysing minimal models that incorporate a notion of locality and at the same time retain some analytical tractability of RMT. More specifically, we study Floquet quantum circuits that are random in space but periodic in time. These circuits consist of local and random quantum gates that act on a q-state `spin' at each site. After a brief review of classical chaos, quantum chaos, and quantum circuits in Chapter 1, we present three main results. In Chapter 2, we formulate a diagrammatical approach for computing ensemble averages of observables over random unitary circuits, and derive exact results on spectral statistics and dynamical observables for a Floquet circuit in the large-q limit. In Chapter 3, we further investigate the spectral statistics in spatiallyextended many-body quantum chaotic systems by computing the spectral form factor K(t) analytically and numerically. We show that K(t) follows the RMT description at times longer than the Thouless time tTh and identify the scaling of tTh at the large-q limit of a Floquet circuit. In Chapter 4, we discuss eigenstate correlations for spatially-extended many-body quantum chaotic systems, in terms of the statistical properties of matrix elements of local observables. While the eigenstate thermalization hypothesis (ETH) is known to give an excellent description of these quantities, the phenomenon of scrambling and the butterfly effect imply structure beyond ETH. We determine analytically and verify numerically the universal form of this structure at long distances and small eigenvalue separations for Floquet systems.
Supervisor: Chalker, John Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available