Describing nonequilibrium properties of quantum many-body systems is challenging due to high entanglement in the wave function. We describe the evolution of local observables via the influence matrix (IM), which encodes the effects of a many-body system as an environment for local subsystems. Recent works found that in many dynamical regimes the IM of an infinite system has low temporal entanglement and can be efficiently represented as a matrix-product state (MPS). Yet, direct iterative constructions of the IM encounter highly entangled intermediate states - a temporal entanglement barrier (TEB). We argue that TEB is ubiquitous, and elucidate its physical origin via a semiclassical quasiparticle picture that exactly captures the behavior of integrable spin chains. Further, we show that a TEB also arises in chaotic spin chains, which lack well-defined quasiparticles. Based on these insights, we formulate an alternative light-cone growth algorithm, which provably avoids TEB, thus providing an efficient construction of the thermodynamic-limit IM as a MPS. This work uncovers the origin of the efficiency of the IM approach for studying thermalization and transport.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics