Determination of dynamical quantum phase transitions in strongly correlated many-body systems using Loschmidt cumulants

Accepted to PRX.

Dynamical phase transitions extend the notion of criticality to non-stationary settings and are characterized by sudden changes in the macroscopic properties of time-evolving quantum systems. Investigations of dynamical phase transitions combine aspects of symmetry, topology, and non-equilibrium physics, however, progress has been hindered by the notorious difficulties of predicting the time evolution of large, interacting quantum systems. Here, we tackle this outstanding problem by determining the critical times of interacting many-body systems after a quench using Loschmidt cumulants. Specifically, we investigate dynamical topological phase transitions in the interacting Kitaev chain and in the spin-1 Heisenberg chain. To this end, we map out the thermodynamic lines of complex times, where the Loschmidt amplitude vanishes, and identify the intersections with the imaginary axis, which yield the real critical times after a quench. For the Kitaev chain, we can accurately predict how the critical behavior is affected by strong interactions, which gradually shift the time at which a dynamical phase transition occurs. Our work demonstrates that Loschmidt cumulants are a powerful tool to unravel the far-from-equilibrium dynamics of strongly correlated many-body systems, and our approach can immediately be applied in higher dimensions.

arXiv:2011.13612

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