Entanglement and thermodynamics after a quantum quench in integrable systems [Physics]
Entanglement and entropy are key concepts standing at the foundations of quantum and statistical mechanics. Recently, the study of quantum quenches revealed that these concepts are intricately intertwined. Although the unitary time evolution ensuing from a pure state maintains the system at zero entropy, local properties at long times are captured by a statistical ensemble with nonzero thermodynamic entropy, which is the entanglement accumulated during the dynamics. Therefore, understanding the entanglement evolution unveils how thermodynamics emerges in isolated systems. Alas, an exact computation of the entanglement dynamics was available so far only for noninteracting systems, whereas it was deemed unfeasible for interacting ones. Here, we show that the standard quasiparticle picture of the entanglement evolution, complemented with integrability-based knowledge of the steady state and its excitations, leads to a complete understanding of the entanglement dynamics in the space–time scaling limit. We thoroughly check our result for the paradigmatic Heisenberg chain.
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