Norbert Schuch

Entanglement of Complex Quantum Systems

Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics

Hans-Kopfermann-Str. 1

85748 Garching

Group Webpage


The research in our group is focused at the interface between quantum information theory and strongly correlated many-body systems. Strongly correlated quantum systems exhibit a wide range of exotic physical phenomena, such as topologically ordered phases with quantized egde currents and exotic excitations, which arise from their intricate entanglement structure. At the same time, the theory of entanglement has been a core topic in quantum information theory, where a wide range of tools to classify, quantify, and utilize entanglement has been developed, suggesting to apply this toolbox to the study of strongly correlated systems.

In our group, we apply quantum information methods to the systematic study of strongly correlated systems, with three main goals: First, we aim to classify the possible phases of strongly correlated systems, this is, the distinct types of global entanglement. Second, we use these insights to study specific strongly correlated systems by means of tailored variational wavefunctions. Third, we study the fundamental limitations to our understanding of these systems imposed by quantum complexity theory.

An important tool in our study is the description of many-body states in terms of tensor networks. Tensor network states provide a description of a global wavefunction, as well as an associated Hamiltonian, from a single local tensor which encapsulates all properties of the system, and thus allow for an explanation of the global behavior of strongly correlated systems based on their local properties.

Entanglement and classification of phases of matter

Different topological phases are distinguished by the different structure of their global entanglement. We explore the different types of global entanglement, and thus the different possible phases of matter, and how their arise from the local properties of the system as imposed by its interactions. To this end, we study the different ways in which symmetries of the system, such as SU(2), can be encoded locally in the tensor network description, and the different algebraic structures these encodings give rise to, with the goal of developing a complete theory of strongly correlated phases starting from a local characterization of the system.

Variational wavefunctions for strongly correlated systems

Many important insights into strongly correlated systems have come through variational wavefunctions, such as the BCS wavefunction for superconductivity and the Laughlin state for the fractional quantum Hall effect. We use tensor network states to construct explicit variational wavefunctions for strongly correlated systems by encoding the desired structure of the interactions locally into the tensor, and subsequently study the emerging global properties such as topological order or fractionalization, and the way in which they can be controlled by the external parameters imposed on the system.

Quantum complexity of many-body systems

The richness of physical phenomena displayed by strongly correlated systems comes at the price of an increased computational difficulty of these systems. We use the tools of quantum complexity theory to study the origin of these difficulties, which on the one hand allows us to assess the fundamental limitations to our ability to simulate these systems, but at the same time, it also helps us to understand the reasons for this increased complexity, and thus to identify specific classes of systems which are accessible by classical or quantum simulations.


On the stability of topological order in tensor network states

D.J. Williamson, C. Delcamp, F. Verstraete, N. Schuch

Physical Review B 104, 235151 (2021).

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We construct a tensor network representation of the 3d toric code ground state that is stable to all local tensor perturbations, including those that do not map to local operators on the physical Hilbert space. The stability is established by mapping the phase diagram of the perturbed tensor network to that of the 3d Ising gauge theory, which has a non-zero finite temperature transition. More generally, we find that the stability of a topological tensor network state is determined by the form of its virtual symmetries and the topological excitations created by virtual operators that break those symmetries. In particular, a dual representation of the 3d toric code ground state, as well as representations of the X-cube and cubic code ground states, for which point-like excitations are created by such operators, are found to be unstable.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.104.235151

On tensor network representations of the (3+1)d toric code

C. Delcamp, N. Schuch

Quantum 5, 604 (2021).

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We define two dual tensor network representations of the (3+1)d toric code ground state subspace. These two representations, which are obtained by initially imposing either family of stabilizer constraints, are characterized by different virtual symmetries generated by string-like and membrane-like operators, respectively. We discuss the topological properties of the model from the point of view of these virtual symmetries, emphasizing the differences between both representations. In particular, we argue that, depending on the representation, the phase diagram of boundary entanglement degrees of freedom is naturally associated with that of a (2+1)d Hamiltonian displaying either a global or a gauge Z2-symmetry.

DOI: 10.22331/q-2021-12-16-604

Generating function for tensor network diagrammatic summation

W.L. Tu, H.K. Wu, N. Schuch, N. Kawashima, J.Y. Chen

Physical Review B 103, 205155 (2021).

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The understanding of complex quantum many-body systems has been vastly boosted by tensor network (TN) methods. Among others, excitation spectrum and long-range interacting systems can be studied using TNs, where one however confronts the intricate summation over an extensive number of tensor diagrams. Here, we introduce a set of generating functions, which encode the diagrammatic summations as leading-order series expansion coefficients. Combined with automatic differentiation, the generating function allows us to solve the problem of TN diagrammatic summation. We illustrate this scheme by computing variational excited states and the dynamical structure factor of a quantum spin chain, and further investigating entanglement properties of excited states. Extensions to infinite-size systems and higher dimension are outlined.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.103.205155

Fractional Chiral Hinge Insulator

A. Hackenbroich, A. Hudomal, N. Schuch, B.A. Bernevig, N. Regnault

Physical Review B 103, L161110 (2021).

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We propose and study a wave function describing an interacting three-dimensional fractional chiral hinge insulator (FCHI) constructed by Gutzwiller projection of two noninteracting second-order topological insulators with chiral hinge modes at half filling. We use large-scale variational Monte Carlo computations to characterize the model states via the entanglement entropy and charge-spin fluctuations. We show that the FCHI possesses fractional chiral hinge modes characterized by a central charge c=1 and Luttinger parameter K=1/2, like the edge modes of a Laughlin 1/2 state. The bulk and surface topology is characterized by the topological entanglement entropy (TEE) correction to the area law. While our computations indicate a vanishing bulk TEE, we show that the gapped surfaces host an unconventional two-dimensional topological phase. In a clear departure from the physics of a Laughlin 1/2 state, we find a TEE per surface compatible with (ln√2)/2, half that of a Laughlin 1/2 state. This value cannot be obtained from topological quantum field theory for purely two-dimensional systems. For the sake of completeness, we also investigate the topological degeneracy.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.103.L161110

Matrix Product States and Projected Entangled Pair States: Concepts, Symmetries, and Theorems

I. Cirac, D. Perez-Garcia, N. Schuch, F. Verstraete

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The theory of entanglement provides a fundamentally new language for describing interactions and correlations in many body systems. Its vocabulary consists of qubits and entangled pairs, and the syntax is provided by tensor networks. We review how matrix product states and projected entangled pair states describe many-body wavefunctions in terms of local tensors. These tensors express how the entanglement is routed, act as a novel type of non-local order parameter, and we describe how their symmetries are reflections of the global entanglement patterns in the full system. We will discuss how tensor networks enable the construction of real-space renormalization group flows and fixed points, and examine the entanglement structure of states exhibiting topological quantum order. Finally, we provide a summary of the mathematical results of matrix product states and projected entangled pair states, highlighting the fundamental theorem of matrix product vectors and its applications.


Projected Entangled Pair States: Fundamental analytical and numerical limitations

G. Scarpa, A. Molnár, Y. Ge, J. J. García-Ripoll, N. Schuch, D. Pérez-García, S. Iblisdir

Physical Review Letters 125, 210504 (2020).

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Matrix product states and projected entangled pair states (PEPS) are powerful analytical and numerical tools to assess quantum many-body systems in one and higher dimensions, respectively. While matrix product states are comprehensively understood, in PEPS fundamental questions, relevant analytically as well as numerically, remain open, such as how to encode symmetries in full generality, or how to stabilize numerical methods using canonical forms. Here, we show that these key problems, as well as a number of related questions, are algorithmically undecidable, that is, they cannot be fully resolved in a systematic way. Our work thereby exposes fundamental limitations to a full and unbiased understanding of quantum many-body systems using PEPS.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.125.210504

Entanglement order parameters and critical behavior for topological phase transitions and beyond

M. Iqbal, N. Schuch

Physical Review X 11, 041014 (2021).

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Topological phases are exotic quantum phases which are lacking the characterization in terms of order parameters. In this paper, we develop a unified framework based on variational iPEPS for the quantitative study of both topological and conventional phase transitions through entanglement order parameters. To this end, we employ tensor networks with suitable physical and/or entanglement symmetries encoded, and allow for order parameters detecting the behavior of any of those symmetries, both physical and entanglement ones. First, this gives rise to entanglement-based order parameters for topological phases. These topological order parameters allow to quantitatively probe topological phase transitions and to identify their universal behavior. We apply our framework to the study of the Toric Code model in different magnetic fields, which in some cases maps to the (2+1)D Ising model. We identify 3D Ising critical exponents for the entire transition, consistent with those special cases and general belief. However, we moreover find an unknown critical exponent beta=0.021. We then apply our framework of entanglement order parameters to conventional phase transitions. We construct a novel type of disorder operator (or disorder parameter), which is non-zero in the disordered phase and measures the response of the wavefunction to a symmetry twist in the entanglement. We numerically evaluate this disorder operator for the (2+1)D transverse field Ising model, where we again recover a critical exponent hitherto unknown in the model, beta=0.024, consistent with the findings for the Toric Code. This shows that entanglement order parameters can provide additional means of characterizing the universal data both at topological and conventional phase transitions, and altogether demonstrates the power of this framework to identify the universal data underlying the transition.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevX.11.041014

Efficient description of many-body systems with Matrix Product Density Operators

J.G. Jarkovský, A. Molnár, N. Schuch, J.I. Cirac

PRX Quantum 1, 010304 (2020).

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Matrix product states form a powerful ansatz for the simulation of a wide range of one-dimensional quantum systems that are in a pure state. Their power stems from the fact that they faithfully approximate states with a low amount of entanglement, the “area law.” However, in order to accurately capture the physics of realistic systems, one generally needs to apply a mixed-state description. In this work, we establish the mixed-state analog of this characterization. We show that one-dimensional mixed states with a low amount of entanglement, quantified by the entanglement of purification, can be efficiently approximated by matrix product density operators.

DOI: 10.1103/PRXQuantum.1.010304

Inaccessible entanglement in symmetry protected topological phases

C. de Groot, D.T. Stephen, A. Molnar, N. Schuch

Journal of Physics A 53, 335302 (2020).

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We study the entanglement structure of symmetry-protected topological (SPT) phases from an operational point of view by considering entanglement distillation in the presence of symmetries. We demonstrate that non-trivial SPT phases in one-dimension necessarily contain some entanglement which is inaccessible if the symmetry is enforced. More precisely, we consider the setting of local operations and classical communication (LOCC) where the local operations commute with a global onsite symmetry group G, which we call G-LOCC, and we define the inaccessible entanglement Einacc as the entanglement that cannot be used for distillation under G-LOCC. We derive a tight bound on Einacc which demonstrates a direct relation between inaccessible entanglement and the SPT phase, namely $\mathrm{log}\left({D}_{\omega }^{2}\right){\leqslant}{E}_{\mathrm{i}\mathrm{n}\mathrm{a}\mathrm{c}\mathrm{c}}{\leqslant}\mathrm{log}\left(\vert G\vert \right)$, where Dω is the topologically protected edge mode degeneracy of the SPT phase ω with symmetry G. For particular phases such as the Haldane phase, ${D}_{\omega }=\sqrt{\vert G\vert }$ so the bound becomes an equality. We numerically investigate the distribution of states throughout the bound, and show that typically the region near the upper bound is highly populated, and also determine the nature of those states lying on the upper and lower bounds. We then discuss the relation of Einacc to string order parameters, and also the extent to which it can be used to distinguish different SPT phases of matter.

DOI: 10.1088/1751-8121/ab98c7

SU(3)_1 Chiral Spin Liquid on the Square Lattice: A View from Symmetric Projected Entangled Pair States

J.-Y. Chen, S. Capponi, A. Wietek, M. Mambrini, N. Schuch, D. Poilblanc

Physical Review Letters 125 (1), 017201 (2020).

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Quantum spin liquids can be faithfully represented and efficiently characterized within the framework of projected entangled pair states (PEPS). Guided by extensive exact diagonalization and density matrix renormalization group calculations, we construct an optimized symmetric PEPS for a SU(3)1 chiral spin liquid on the square lattice. Characteristic features are revealed by the entanglement spectrum (ES) on an infinitely long cylinder. In all three Z3 sectors, the level counting of the linear dispersing modes is in full agreement with SU(3)1 Wess-Zumino-Witten conformal field theory prediction. Special features in the ES are shown to be in correspondence with bulk anyonic correlations, indicating a fine structure in the holographic bulk-edge correspondence. Possible universal properties of topological SU(N)k chiral PEPS are discussed.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.125.017201

Gapped Z2 spin liquid in the breathing kagome Heisenberg antiferromagnet

M. Iqbal, D. Poilblanc, N. Schuch

Physical Review B 101, 155141 (2020).

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We investigate the spin-1/2 Heisenberg antiferromagnet on a kagome lattice with breathing anisotropy (i.e., with weak and strong triangular units), constructing an improved simplex resonating valence bond (RVB) ansatz by successive applications (up to three times) of local quantum gates, which implement a filtering operation on the bare nearest-neighbor RVB state. The resulting projected entangled pair state involves a small number of variational parameters (only one at each level of application) and preserves full lattice and spin-rotation symmetries. Despite its simple analytic form, the simplex RVB provides very good variational energies at strong and even intermediate breathing anisotropy. We show that it carries Z2 topological order which does not fade away under the first few applications of the quantum gates, suggesting that the RVB topological spin liquid becomes a competing ground state candidate for the kagome antiferromagnet at large breathing anisotropy.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.101.155141

Fermionic tensor networks for higher order topological insulators from charge pumping

A. Hackenbroich, B.A. Bernevig, N. Schuch, N. Regnault

Physical Review B 101, 115134 (2020).

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We apply the charge-pumping argument to fermionic tensor network representations of d-dimensional topological insulators (TIs) to obtain tensor network states (TNSs) for (d+1)-dimensional TIs. We exemplify the method by constructing a two-dimensional projected entangled pair state (PEPS) for a Chern insulator starting from a matrix product state (MPS) in d=1 describing pumping in the Su-Schrieffer-Heeger (SSH) model. In extending the argument to second-order TIs, we build a three-dimensional TNS for a chiral hinge TI from a PEPS in d=2 for the obstructed atomic insulator (OAI) of the quadrupole model. The (d+1)-dimensional TNSs obtained in this way have a constant bond dimension inherited from the d-dimensional TNSs in all but one spatial direction, making them candidates for numerical applications. From the d-dimensional models, we identify gapped next-nearest-neighbor Hamiltonians interpolating between the trivial and OAI phases of the fully dimerized SSH and quadrupole models, whose ground states are given by an MPS and a PEPS with a constant bond dimension equal to 2, respectively.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.101.115134

Topological Spin Liquids: Robustness under perturbations

M. Iqbal, H. Casademunt, N. Schuch

Physical Review B 101, 115101 (2020).

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We study the robustness of the paradigmatic kagome resonating valence bond (RVB) spin liquid and its orthogonal version, the quantum dimer model. The nonorthogonality of singlets in the RVB model and the induced finite length scale not only makes it difficult to analyze, but can also significantly affect its physics, such as how much noise resilience it exhibits. Surprisingly, we find that this is not the case: The amount of perturbations which the RVB spin liquid can tolerate is not affected by the finite correlation length, making the dimer model a viable model for studying RVB physics under perturbations. Remarkably, we find that this is a universal phenomenon protected by symmetries: First, the dominant correlations in the RVB are spinon correlations, making the state robust against doping with visons. Second, reflection symmetry stabilizes the spin liquid against doping with spinons, by forbidding mixing of the initially dominant correlations with those which lead to the breakdown of topological order.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.101.115101

Matrix product state algorithms for Gaussian fermionic states

N. Schuch, B. Bauer

Physical Review B 100, 245121 (2019).

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While general quantum many-body systems require exponential resources to be simulated on a classical computer, systems of noninteracting fermions can be simulated exactly using polynomially scaling resources. Such systems may be of interest in their own right but also occur as effective models in numerical methods for interacting systems, such as Hartree-Fock, density functional theory, and many others. Often it is desirable to solve systems of many thousand constituent particles, rendering these simulations computationally costly despite their polynomial scaling. We demonstrate how this scaling can be improved by adapting methods based on matrix product states, which have been enormously successful for low-dimensional interacting quantum systems, to the case of free fermions. Compared to the case of interacting systems, our methods achieve an exponential speedup in the entanglement entropy of the state. We demonstrate their use to solve systems of up to one million sites with an effective matrix product state bond dimension of 1015.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.100.245121

Quantum chaos in the Brownian SYK model with large finite N : OTOCs and tripartite information

C. Sünderhauf, L. Piroli, X.L. Qi, N. Schuch, J.I. Cirac

Journal of High Energy Physics 38 (2019).

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We consider the Brownian SYK model of N interacting Majorana fermions, with random couplings that are taken to vary independently at each time. We study the out-of-time-ordered correlators (OTOCs) of arbitrary observables and the Rényi-2 tripartite information of the unitary evolution operator, which were proposed as diagnostic tools for quantum chaos and scrambling, respectively. We show that their averaged dynamics can be studied as a quench problem at imaginary times in a model of N qudits, where the Hamiltonian displays site-permutational symmetry. By exploiting a description in terms of bosonic collective modes, we show that for the quantities of interest the dynamics takes place in a subspace of the effective Hilbert space whose dimension grows either linearly or quadratically with N , allowing us to perform numerically exact calculations up to N = 106. We analyze in detail the interesting features of the OTOCs, including their dependence on the chosen observables, and of the tripartite information. We observe explicitly the emergence of a scrambling time t∗∼ ln N controlling the onset of both chaotic and scrambling behavior, after which we characterize the exponential decay of the quantities of interest to the corresponding Haar scrambled values.

DOI: 10.1007/JHEP11(2019)038

Detecting subsystem symmetry protected topological order via entanglement entropy

D.T. Stephen, H. Dreyer, M. Iqbal, N. Schuch

Physical Review B 100, 115112 (2019).

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Subsystem symmetry protected topological (SSPT) order is a type of quantum order that is protected by symmetries acting on lower-dimensional subsystems of the entire system. In this paper, we show how SSPT order can be characterized and detected by a constant correction to the entanglement area law, similar to the topological entanglement entropy. Focusing on the paradigmatic two-dimensional cluster phase as an example, we use tensor network methods to give an analytic argument that almost all states in the phase exhibit the same correction to the area law, such that this correction may be used to reliably detect the SSPT order of the cluster phase. Based on this idea, we formulate a numerical method that uses tensor networks to extract this correction from ground-state wave functions. We use this method to study the fate of the SSPT order of the cluster state under various external fields and interactions, and find that the correction persists unless a phase transition is crossed, or the subsystem symmetry is explicitly broken. Surprisingly, these results uncover that the SSPT order of the cluster state persists beyond the cluster phase, thanks to a new type of subsystem time-reversal symmetry. Finally, we discuss the correction to the area law found in three-dimensional cluster states on different lattices, indicating rich behavior for general subsystem symmetries.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.100.115112

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