Quantum simulation of nonequilibrium dynamics and thermalization in the Schwinger model
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1103/physrevd.106.054508
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.