Fast Preparation of Critical Ground States Using Superluminal Fronts

Kartiek Agarwal, R. N. Bhatt, S. L. Sondhi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


We propose a spatiotemporal quench protocol that allows for the fast preparation of ground states of gapless models with Lorentz invariance. Assuming the system initially resides in the ground state of a corresponding massive model, we show that a superluminally moving "front" that locally quenches the mass, leaves behind it (in space) a state arbitrarily close to the ground state of the gapless model. Importantly, our protocol takes time O(L) to produce the ground state of a system of size ∼Ld (d spatial dimensions), while a fully adiabatic protocol requires time ∼O(L2) to produce a state with exponential accuracy in L. The physics of the dynamical problem can be understood in terms of relativistic rarefaction of excitations generated by the mass front. We provide proof of concept by solving the proposed quench exactly for a system of free bosons in arbitrary dimensions, and for free fermions in d=1. We discuss the role of interactions and UV effects on the free-theory idealization, before numerically illustrating the usefulness of the approach via simulations on the quantum Heisenberg spin chain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number210604
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number21
StatePublished - May 22 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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