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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Quantum simulation of nonequilibrium dynamics and thermalization in the Schwinger model


We present simulations of nonequilibrium dynamics of quantum field theories on digital quantum computers. As a representative example, we consider the Schwinger model, a (1+1)-dimensional U(1) gauge theory, coupled through a Yukawa-type interaction to a thermal environment described by a scalar field theory. We use the Hamiltonian formulation of the Schwinger model discretized on a spatial lattice. With the thermal scalar fields traced out, the Schwinger model can be treated as an open quantum system and its real-time dynamics are governed by a Lindblad equation in the Markovian limit. The interaction with the environment ultimately drives the system to thermal equilibrium. In the quantum Brownian motion limit, the Lindblad equation is related to a field theoretical Caldeira-Leggett equation. By using the Stinespring dilation theorem with ancillary qubits, we perform studies of both the nonequilibrium dynamics and the preparation of a thermal state in the Schwinger model using IBM's simulator and quantum devices. The real-time dynamics of field theories as open quantum systems and the thermal state preparation studied here are relevant for a variety of applications in nuclear and particle physics, quantum information and cosmology.

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