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Non-Hermitian quantum quenches in holography

Sergio Morales-Tejera, Karl Landsteiner

SciPost Phys. 14, 030 (2023) · published 10 March 2023


The notion of non-Hermitian $\mathcal{PT}$ symmetric quantum theory has recently been generalized to the gauge/gravity duality. We study the evolution of such non-Hermitian holographic field theories when the couplings are varied with time with particular emphasis on the question non-unitary time vs. unitary time evolution. We show that a non-unitary time evolution in the dual quantum theory corresponds to a violation of the Null Energy Condition (NEC) in the bulk of the asymptotically AdS spacetime. We find that upon varying the non-Hermitian coupling the horizon of a bulk AdS black hole shrinks. On the other hand varying the Hermitian coupling in the presence of a constant non-Hermitian coupling still violates the NEC but results in a growing horizon. We also show that by introducing a non-Hermitian gauge field the time evolution can be made unitary, e.g. the NEC in the bulk is obeyed and an exactly equivalent purely Hermitian description can be given.

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