Relaxation of Multitime Statistics in Quantum Systems

Neil Dowling1, Pedro Figueroa-Romero2, Felix A. Pollock1, Philipp Strasberg3, and Kavan Modi1

1School of Physics & Astronomy, Monash University, Victoria 3800, Australia
2Hon Hai Quantum Computing Research Center, Taipei, Taiwan
3Física Teòrica: Informació i Fenòmens Quàntics, Departament de Física, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra (Barcelona), Spain

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Abstract

Equilibrium statistical mechanics provides powerful tools to understand physics at the macroscale. Yet, the question remains how this can be justified based on a microscopic quantum description. Here, we extend the ideas of pure state quantum statistical mechanics, which focus on single time statistics, to show the equilibration of isolated quantum processes. Namely, we show that most multitime observables for sufficiently large times cannot distinguish a nonequilibrium process from an equilibrium one, unless the system is probed for an extremely large number of times or the observable is particularly fine-grained. A corollary of our results is that the size of non-Markovianity and other multitime characteristics of a nonequilibrium process also equilibrate.

Why are macroscopic properties of a many-body system usually approximately stationary despite the exact miscrostate constantly evolving? It is a widely held belief that quantum mechanics alone should be enough to derive statistical mechanics, without any additional assumptions. A key piece of this puzzle is determining how one can observe stationary quantities in an isolated quantum system. In this work we show that multitime expectation values look stationary on average in large systems, when the initial state is not highly fine tuned and when the observable is coarse in both space and time. This means that relevant multitime features, such as the amount of memory in the quantum system, are generically independent of the exact times probed.

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[3] Talía L. M. Lezama, Yevgeny Bar Lev, and Lea F. Santos, "Temporal fluctuations of correlators in integrable and chaotic quantum systems", SciPost Physics 15 6, 244 (2023).

[4] Neil Dowling, Pedro Figueroa-Romero, Felix A. Pollock, Philipp Strasberg, and Kavan Modi, "Equilibration of multitime quantum processes in finite time intervals", SciPost Physics Core 6 2, 043 (2023).

[5] Philipp Strasberg, "Classicality with(out) decoherence: Concepts, relation to Markovianity, and a random matrix theory approach", SciPost Physics 15 1, 024 (2023).

[6] I. A. Aloisio, G. A. L. White, C. D. Hill, and K. Modi, "Sampling Complexity of Open Quantum Systems", PRX Quantum 4 2, 020310 (2023).

[7] Pengfei Wang, Hyukjoon Kwon, Chun-Yang Luan, Wentao Chen, Mu Qiao, Zinan Zhou, Kaizhao Wang, M. S. Kim, and Kihwan Kim, "Demonstration of multi-time quantum statistics without measurement back-action", arXiv:2207.06106, (2022).

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