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Measuring Out-of-Time-Order Correlators on a Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Quantum Simulator
Phys. Rev. X 7(3):31011 Jul 2017

Li, Jun; Fan, Ruihua; Wang, Hengyan; Ye, Bingtian; Zeng, Bei; Zhai, Hui; Peng, Xinhua; Du, Jiangfeng


The idea of the out-of-time-order correlator (OTOC) has recently emerged in the study of both condensed matter systems and gravitational systems. It not only plays a key role in investigating the holographic duality between a strongly interacting quantum system and a gravitational system, it also diagnoses the chaotic behavior of many-body quantum systems and characterizes information scrambling. Based on OTOCs, three different concepts—quantum chaos, holographic duality, and information scrambling—are found to be intimately related to each other. Despite its theoretical importance, the experimental measurement of the OTOC is quite challenging, and thus far there is no experimental measurement of the OTOC for local operators. Here, we report the measurement of OTOCs of local operators for an Ising spin chain on a nuclear magnetic resonance quantum simulator. We observe that the OTOC behaves differently in the integrable and nonintegrable cases. Based on the recent discovered relationship between OTOCs and the growth of entanglement entropy in the many-body system, we extract the entanglement entropy from the measured OTOCs, which clearly shows that the information entropy oscillates in time for integrable models and scrambles for nonintgrable models. With the measured OTOCs, we also obtain the experimental result of the butterfly velocity, which measures the speed of correlation propagation. Our experiment paves a way for experimentally studying quantum chaos, holographic duality, and information scrambling in many-body quantum systems with quantum simulators.


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