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Thermal out-of-time-order correlators, KMS relations, and spectral functions

  • Author(s): Haehl, FM
  • Loganayagam, R
  • Narayan, P
  • Nizami, AA
  • Rangamani, M
  • et al.

We describe general features of thermal correlation functions in quantum systems, with specific focus on the fluctuation-dissipation type relations implied by the KMS condition. These end up relating correlation functions with different time ordering and thus should naturally be viewed in the larger context of out-of-time-ordered (OTO) observables. In particular, eschewing the standard formulation of KMS relations where thermal periodicity is combined with time-reversal to stay within the purview of Schwinger-Keldysh functional integrals, we show that there is a natural way to phrase them directly in terms of OTO correlators. We use these observations to construct a natural causal basis for thermal n-point functions in terms of fully nested commutators. We provide several general results which can be inferred from cyclic orbits of permutations, and exemplify the abstract results using a quantum oscillator as an explicit example.

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