Computational Methods for the Measurement of Entanglement in Condensed Matter Systems
Kallin, Ann Berlinsky
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At the interface of quantum information and condensed matter physics, the study of entanglement in quantum many-body systems requires a new toolset which combines concepts from each. This thesis introduces a set of computational methods to study phases and phase transitions in lattice models of quantum systems, using the Renyi entropies as a means of quantifying entanglement. The scaling of entanglement entropy can give valuable insight into the phase of a condensed matter system. It can be used to detect exotic types of phases, to pinpoint transitions between phases, and can give us universal information about a system. The first approach in this thesis is a technique to measure entanglement in finite size lattice systems using zero-temperature quantum Monte Carlo simulations. The algorithm is developed, implemented, and used to explore anomalous entanglement scaling terms in the spin-1/2 Heisenberg antiferromagnet. In the second part of this thesis, a new and complementary numerical technique is introduced to study entanglement not just in finite size systems, but as we approach the thermodynamic limit. This “numerical linked-cluster expansion” is used to study two different systems at their quantum critical points — continuous phase transitions occurring at zero temperature, at which these systems exhibit universal properties. Remarkably, these universal properties can be reflected in the scaling of entanglement. Entanglement offers a new perspective on condensed matter systems, one which takes us closer to genuinely understanding what goes on in these materials at the quantum mechanical level. This thesis demonstrates the first steps in developing an extensive list of computational tools that can be used to study entanglement over a wide range of interacting quantum many-body systems. With the ever increasing computational power available, it may be only a matter of time before these tools are used to create a comprehensive framework for the characterization of condensed matter phases and phase transitions.