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Traveling discontinuity at the quantum butterfly front

Camille Aron, Éric Brunet, Aditi Mitra

SciPost Phys. 15, 042 (2023) · published 2 August 2023


We formulate a kinetic theory of quantum information scrambling in the context of a paradigmatic model of interacting electrons in the vicinity of a superconducting phase transition. We carefully derive a set of coupled partial differential equations that effectively govern the dynamics of information spreading in generic dimensions. Their solutions show that scrambling propagates at the maximal speed set by the Fermi velocity. At early times, we find exponential growth at a rate set by the inelastic scattering. At late times, we find that scrambling is governed by shock-wave dynamics with traveling waves exhibiting a discontinuity at the boundary of the light cone. Notably, we find perfectly causal dynamics where the solutions do not spill outside of the light cone.

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