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Boundary Chaos: Spectral Form Factor

by Felix Fritzsch, Tomaž Prosen

Submission summary

Authors (as registered SciPost users): Felix Fritzsch
Submission information
Preprint Link:  (pdf)
Date submitted: 2023-12-27 16:20
Submitted by: Fritzsch, Felix
Submitted to: SciPost Physics
Ontological classification
Academic field: Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics - Theory
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Quantum Physics
Approach: Theoretical


Random matrix spectral correlations is a defining feature of quantum chaos. Here, we study such correlations in a minimal model of chaotic many-body quantum dynamics where interactions are confined to the system's boundary, dubbed \textit{boundary chaos}, in terms of the spectral form factor and its fluctuations. We exactly calculate the latter in the limit of large local Hilbert space dimension $q$ for different classes of random boundary interactions and find it to coincide with random matrix theory, possibly after a non-zero Thouless time. The latter effect is due to a drastic enhancement of the spectral form factor, when integer time and system size fulfill a resonance condition. We compare our semiclassical (large $q$) results with numerics at small local Hilbert space dimension ($q=2,3$) and observe qualitatively similar features as in the semiclassical regime.

Current status:
In refereeing

Reports on this Submission

Anonymous Report 1 on 2024-3-25 (Invited Report)


- Analytical results derived at large local Hilbert space dimension $q$
-Extensive numerical analysis


-Main results are specific to boundary chaos


In this work, the authors investigate the presence of quantum chaos in noninteracting circuits locally perturbed by an interacting gate (T-dual or Haar random) acting at the system’s boundary (boundary chaos). This is done through the analysis of the spectral form factor (SFF) and of its moments. In particular, results in the limit of large local Hilbert space dimension $q$ are obtained analytically by reducing the many-body problem to an effective two-body calculation. Their analytical findings at large $q$ agree with the expected results from random matrix theory (RMT) . The authors then compare these exact results to numerical simulations performed for small $q=2,3,4$. They show that the main features of SFF and its moments are captured by RMT also at small $q$ for times < Heisenberg time and > of a Thouless time, before which the SFF displays a non-universal behavior. Furthermore, their extensive numerical analysis gives an estimate of the Thouless time, depending on system size and the type of interacting gates perturbing the circuit.

The paper is well written, and the derived results are of interest for the community. I believe that the results contained in this manuscript deserve publication, and easily meet the acceptance criteria of SciPost Physics Core. However, my main concerns regarding the publication in SciPost Physics is that the in-depth analysis of SFF for boundary chaos does not provide general hints for other settings. I understand that this model serves as a minimal model for studying quantum many-body chaos, but I would appreciate if the authors can comment more on generic features that this study can highlight for other setting.

Some other minor comments are listed below.

-The authors may include the curve obtained with numerics for q=4 L=6 in Figure 1b and qualitatively comment on the observed deviations from RMT during the initial non-universal regime already at the beginning of Sec. 5.

-Similarly, it would be nice to add the results for q=4 L=6 in the plot of Figure 2b and show theconvergence towards a Wigner-Dyson distribution.

-For the Haar impurity, the authors extract a power-law dependence in t/L of the initial non-universal regime, with exponent $\nu\approx 4$ for the scaled SFF and for its moments. Is the value of this exponent obtained as a fitting parameter? Do the authors have an understanding for this value?

-Still on the data collapse for the T-dual impurity (Figure 6c). Is there an understanding of the factor $1/L^2$ in the scaled SFF needed to observe data collapse (and consequently of the Thouless time scaling exponent $\mu=(2-\nu)$)? Also, do the authors have an understanding —beyond the numerical evidence— on why the exponent $\mu$ for m=2 (Figure 8c) is different from that of the SFF? Do the authors have an estimate of the exponent $\mu$ for higher moments?

- As the authors pointed out at the end of page 10, the Thouless time (for both types of impurities) it is expected to decrease when q is increased at fixed L. It would be nice to see how much the exponent $\nu$ changes for q=2,3 in the Haar case, and possibly $\mu$ for m=1,2 and q=3,4 in the T-dual.

  • validity: high
  • significance: high
  • originality: high
  • clarity: good
  • formatting: good
  • grammar: excellent

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