Wednesday, July 17, 2013

1307.4092 (Yasaman Bahri et al.)

Localization and topology protected quantum coherence at the edge of
'hot' matter

Yasaman Bahri, Ronen Vosk, Ehud Altman, Ashvin Vishwanath
Topological phases are often characterized by special edge states confined near the boundaries by an energy gap in the bulk. On raising temperature, these edge states are lost in a clean system due to mobile thermal excitations. Recently however, it has been established that disorder can localize an isolated many body system, potentially allowing for a sharply defined topological phase even in a highly excited state. Here we show this to be the case for the topological phase of a one dimensional magnet with quenched disorder, which features spin one-half excitations at the edges. The time evolution of a simple, highly excited, initial state is used to reveal quantum coherent edge spins. In particular, we demonstrate, using theoretical arguments and numerical simulation, the coherent revival of an edge spin over a time scale that grows exponentially bigger with system size. This is in sharp contrast to the general expectation that quantum bits strongly coupled to a 'hot' many body system will rapidly lose coherence.
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