## Universal Aspects of Quantum-Critical Dynamics in and Out of Equilibrium

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Steinberg, Julia Allison

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Steinberg, Julia Allison. 2020. Universal Aspects of Quantum-Critical Dynamics in and Out of Equilibrium. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.##### Abstract

Quantum phase transitions occur strictly at zero temperature and are accessed by varying a physical parameter such as a magnetic field or chemical potential. While these transitions themselves are experimentally inaccessible, the existence of a zero temperature quantum critical point has remarkable effects on the dynamical properties of interacting quantum many-body systems at finite temperatures. In this thesis, we study dynamics in four strongly interacting many-body systems near quantum critical points in the context of NMR relaxation, quantum quenches, many-body quantum chaos, and charge diffusion.In chapter 1, we begin by revisiting the issue of NMR relaxation in the quantum disordered phase of Ising spin chains. We find that the imaginary part of the spin susceptibility at low frequences is dominated by rare quantum processes which leads to an NMR relaxation rate that scales as $1/T_{1}\sim \exp(-\frac{2\Delta}{T})$ near the quantum critical point rather than the previously conjectured $1/T_{1}\sim \exp(-\frac{\Delta}{T})$. These results resolve certain discrepancies between the energy scales measured with different experimental probes in the quantum disordered paramagnetic phase of the Ising chain system $\text{CoNb}_{2}\text{O}_{6}$.

In chapter 2, we study the non-equilibrium dynamics of Sachdev-Ye-Kitaev (SYK) models with $q$ body interactions after a quantum quench, considering a quench protocol which drives the system from an initial state with long-lived quasiparticle excitations to a final state lacking any long-lived quasiparticle excitations. For $q=4$, we find that the timescale for the system to locally thermalize $\tau_{eq}\sim\frac{\hbar}{k_{B}T}$ and for $q\rightarrow \infty$ we find that the system thermalizes instantaneously.

In chapter 3, we study the real time dynamics of quantum electrodynamics in 2+1 dimensions with $N_{f}$ flavors of fermions. We focus on thermalization and the onset of many-body quantum chaos and compute the quantum Lyapunov exponent in a $\frac{1}{N_{f}}$ expansion. We briefly comment on chaos, locality, and gauge invariance.

Finally, in Chapter 4 we consider whether the butterfly velocity - a speed at which quantum information propagates - may provide a fundamental bound on diffusion constants in dirty incoherent metals by computing the charge diffusion constant and the butterfly velocity in charge-neutral holographic matter with long wavelength ``hydrodynamic" disorder. In this limit, we find that the butterfly velocity does not set a sharp lower bound for the charge diffusion constant.

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This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#LAA##### Citable link to this page

https://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365950

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- FAS Theses and Dissertations [5435]

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