The dynamics of entanglement has recently been realized as a useful probe in studying ergodicity and its breakdown in quantum many-body systems. In this paper, we study theoretically the growth of entanglement in quantum many-body systems and propose a method to measure it experimentally. We show that entanglement growth is related to the spreading of local operators in real space. We present a simple toy model for ergodic systems in which linear spreading of operators results in a universal, linear-in-time growth of entanglement for initial product states, in contrast with the logarithmic growth of entanglement in many-body localized (MBL) systems. Furthermore, we show that entanglement growth is directly related to the decay of the Loschmidt echo in a composite system comprised of several copies of the original system, in which connections are controlled by a quantum switch (two-level system). By measuring only the switch's dynamics, the growth of the Rényi entropies can be extracted. Our work provides a way of understanding entanglement dynamics in many-body systems and to directly measure its growth in time via a single local measurement.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics