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Measurement of many-body chaos using a quantum clock


There has been recent progress in understanding chaotic features in many-body quantum systems. Motivated by the scrambling of information in black holes, it has been suggested that the time dependence of out-of-time-ordered (OTO) correlation functions such as < O-2(t)O-1(0)O-2(t)O-1(0)> is a faithful measure of quantum chaos. Experimentally, these correlators are challenging to access since they apparently require access to both forward and backward time evolution with the system Hamiltonian. Here we propose a protocol to measure such OTO correlators using an ancilla that controls the direction of time. Specifically, by coupling the state of the ancilla to the system Hamiltonian of interest, we can emulate the forward and backward time propagation, where the ancilla plays the role of a quantum clock. Within this scheme, the continuous evolution of the entire system (the system of interest and the ancilla) is governed by a time-independent Hamiltonian. We discuss the implementation of our protocol with current circuit-QED technology for a class of interacting Hamiltonians. Our protocol is immune to errors that could occur when the direction of time evolution is externally controlled by a classical switch.

Publication Details

Publication Type
Journal Article
Year of Publication
Physical Review A

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