Scrambling Dynamics across a Thermalization-Localization Quantum Phase Transition. Academic Article uri icon


  • We study quantum information scrambling, specifically the growth of Heisenberg operators, in large disordered spin chains using matrix product operator dynamics to scan across the thermalization-localization quantum phase transition. We observe ballistic operator growth for weak disorder, and a sharp transition to a phase with subballistic operator spreading. The critical disorder strength for the ballistic to subballistic transition is well below the many body localization phase transition, as determined from finite size scaling of energy eigenstate entanglement entropy in small chains. In contrast, we find that the transition from subballistic to logarithmic behavior at the actual eigenstate localization transition is not resolved in our finite numerics. These data are discussed in the context of a universal form for the growing operator shape and substantiated with a simple phenomenological model of rare regions.

published proceedings

  • Phys Rev Lett

author list (cited authors)

  • Sahu, S., Xu, S., & Swingle, B.

citation count

  • 21

complete list of authors

  • Sahu, Subhayan||Xu, Shenglong||Swingle, Brian

publication date

  • October 2019