Weak ergodicity breaking from quantum many-body scars

C. J. Turner, A. A. Michailidis, D. A. Abanin, M. Serbyn, Z. Papić

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

534 Scopus citations


The thermodynamic description of many-particle systems rests on the assumption of ergodicity, the ability of a system to explore all allowed configurations in the phase space. Recent studies on many-body localization have revealed the existence of systems that strongly violate ergodicity in the presence of quenched disorder. Here, we demonstrate that ergodicity can be weakly broken by a different mechanism, arising from the presence of special eigenstates in the many-body spectrum that are reminiscent of quantum scars in chaotic non-interacting systems. In the single-particle case, quantum scars correspond to wavefunctions that concentrate in the vicinity of unstable periodic classical trajectories. We show that many-body scars appear in the Fibonacci chain, a model with a constrained local Hilbert space that has recently been experimentally realized in a Rydberg-atom quantum simulator. The quantum scarred eigenstates are embedded throughout the otherwise thermalizing many-body spectrum but lead to direct experimental signatures, as we show for periodic recurrences that reproduce those observed in the experiment. Our results suggest that scarred many-body bands give rise to a new universality class of quantum dynamics, opening up opportunities for the creation of novel states with long-lived coherence in systems that are now experimentally realizable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)745-749
Number of pages5
JournalNature Physics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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