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Bordia, Pranjal; Alet, Fabien; Hosur, Pavan (2018): Out-of-time-ordered measurements as a probe of quantum dynamics. In: Physical Review A, Vol. 97, No. 3, 30103
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Abstract

Probing the out-of-equilibrium dynamics of quantum matter has gained renewed interest owing to immense experimental progress in artificial quantum systems. Dynamical quantum measures such as the growth of entanglement entropy and out-of-time-ordered correlators (OTOCs) have been shown to provide great insight by exposing subtle quantum features invisible to traditional measures such as mass transport. However, measuring them in experiments requires either identical copies of the system, an ancilla qubit coupled to the whole system, or many measurements on a single copy, thereby making scalability extremely complex and hence, severely limiting their potential. Here, we introduce an alternative quantity, the out-of-time-ordered measurement (OTOM), which involves measuring a single observable on a single copy of the system, while retaining the distinctive features of the OTOCs. We show, theoretically, that OTOMs are closely related to OTOCs in a doubled system with the same quantum statistical properties as the original system. Using exact diagonalization, we numerically simulate classical mass transport, as well as quantum dynamics through computations of the OTOC, the OTOM, and the entanglement entropy in quantum spin chain models in various interesting regimes (including chaotic and many-body localized systems). Our results demonstrate that an OTOM can successfully reveal subtle aspects of quantum dynamics hidden to classical measures and, crucially, provide experimental access to them.