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Statistics of correlations across the many-body localization transition

by Luis Colmenarez, Paul A. McClarty, Masudul Haque, David J. Luitz

Submission summary

As Contributors: Luis A. Colmenarez
Arxiv Link:
Date submitted: 2019-07-17
Submitted by: Colmenarez, Luis A.
Submitted to: SciPost Physics
Domain(s): Theor. & Comp.
Subject area: Quantum Physics


Ergodic quantum many-body systems satisfy the eigenstate thermalization hypothesis (ETH). However, strong disorder can destroy ergodicity through many-body localization (MBL) -- at least in one dimensional systems -- leading to a clear signal of the MBL transition in the probability distributions of energy eigenstate expectation values of local operators. For a paradigmatic model of MBL, namely the random-field Heisenberg spin chain, we consider the full probability distribution of \emph{eigenstate correlation functions} across the entire phase diagram. We find gaussian distributions at weak disorder, as predicted by pure ETH. At intermediate disorder -- in the thermal phase -- we find further evidence for \emph{anomalous thermalization} in the form of heavy tails of the distributions. In the MBL phase, we observe peculiar features of the correlator distributions: a strong asymmetry in $S_i^z S_{i+r}^z$ correlators skewed towards negative values; and a multimodal distribution for spin-flip correlators. A \emph{quantitative quasi-degenerate perturbation theory} calculation of these correlators yields a surprising \emph{agreement of the full distribution} with the exact results, revealing, in particular, the origin of the multiple peaks in the spin-flip correlator distribution as arising from the resonant and off-resonant admixture of spin configurations. The distribution of the $S_i^zS_{i+r}^z$ correlator exhibits striking differences between the MBL and Anderson insulator cases.

Current status:
Editor-in-charge assigned

Submission & Refereeing History

Submission 1906.10701v2 on 17 July 2019

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