Many-Body Localization in the Age of Classical Computing

Piotr Sierant, Maciej Lewenstein, Antonello Scardicchio, Lev Vidmar, Jakub Zakrzewski
Condensed Matter, Disordered Systems and Neural Networks, Disordered Systems and Neural Networks (cond-mat.dis-nn), Quantum Gases (cond-mat.quant-gas), Statistical Mechanics (cond-mat.stat-mech), Strongly Correlated Electrons (cond-mat.str-el), Quantum Physics (quant-ph)
2024-03-11 00:00:00
Statistical mechanics provides a framework for describing the physics of large, complex many-body systems using only a few macroscopic parameters to determine the state of the system. For isolated quantum many-body systems, such a description is achieved via the eigenstate thermalization hypothesis (ETH), which links thermalization, ergodicity and quantum chaotic behavior. However, tendency towards thermalization is not observed at finite system sizes and evolution times in a robust many-body localization (MBL) regime found numerically and experimentally in the dynamics of interacting many-body systems at strong disorder. Although the phenomenology of the MBL regime is well-established, the central question remains unanswered: under what conditions does the MBL regime give rise to an MBL phase in which the thermalization does not occur even in the asymptotic limit of infinite system size and evolution time? This review focuses on recent numerical investigations aiming to clarify the status of the MBL phase, and it establishes the critical open questions about the dynamics of disordered many-body systems. Persistent finite size drifts towards ergodicity consistently emerge in spectral properties of disordered many-body systems, excluding naive single-parameter scaling hypothesis and preventing comprehension of the status of the MBL phase. The drifts are related to tendencies towards thermalization and non-vanishing transport observed in the dynamics of many-body systems, even at strong disorder. These phenomena impede understanding of microscopic processes at the ETH-MBL crossover. Nevertheless, the abrupt slowdown of dynamics with increasing disorder strength suggests the proximity of the MBL phase. This review concludes that the questions about thermalization and its failure in disordered many-body systems remain a captivating area open for further explorations.
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