Helmes, Johannes (2017). An entanglement perspective on phase transitions, conventional and topological order. PhD thesis, Universität zu Köln.

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The interplay of the constituents of interacting many-body systems may reveal emergent properties on the macroscopic scale which are not inherent to the individual constituents. These properties are expressed in macroscopic observables describing the state — denoted as the phase of the system. Continuous phase transition between phases are generically manifested in critical behavior, for example, a divergence of a macroscopic observable. The identification of the present phase of a system and the classification of critical phenomena into universality classes are exciting challenges of condensed-matter physics. In this thesis, we use entanglement entropies as macroscopic quantities for the characterization of phases of quantum matter and critical theories. For groundstates of quantum many-body systems the entanglement entropy is a measure of the amount of entanglement between two subsystems. The generic dependence of the entanglement entropy on the size and shape of the subsystems is contained in the well-known boundary law — stating a scaling of the entanglement entropy with the boundary between the two subsystems. We numerically investigate how the coefficient of this dependence reflects quantum phase transitions in simple spin-half bilayer models. Subleading terms to the boundary law such as a logarithmic contribution provide universal numbers for the criticality of field theories. We examine free and interacting theories from an entanglement entropy perspective in order to assess the role of the coefficient of the logarithmic correction induced by corners in the subsystems. Beyond its universality, this coefficient also quantifies degrees of freedom of low-lying excitations in the conformal field theory describing a critical point. A constant contribution to the boundary law indicates the presence of so-called topological order in the ground state of a many-body system. This extremely useful property can also be identified in classical counterparts of entanglement entropy which we study at the example of various toric code models. To this endeavor, we have designed Monte Carlo techniques which allow for an efficient numerical computation of the constant contribution. In particular, we analyze via entanglement entropies under which conditions remnants of topological order are present in the quantum system at finite temperature and at perturbations from a magnetic field. The major motivation behind this effort is to use topological order for the robust storage of a quantum information — a basic need for the construction of quantum computers.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
Helmes, Johanneshelmes@thp.uni-koeln.deUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-76665
Date: 2017
Language: English
Faculty: Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
Divisions: Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences > Department of Physics > Institute for Theoretical Physics
Subjects: Physics
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Entanglement entropyEnglish
Topological orderEnglish
Monte Carlo simulationsEnglish
Date of oral exam: 2 December 2016
NameAcademic Title
Trebst, SimonProf. Dr.
Gross, DavidProf. Dr.
Refereed: Yes
URI: http://kups.ub.uni-koeln.de/id/eprint/7666


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