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Oct 6, 2020

Verified quantum information scrambling

Posted by in categories: computing, quantum physics

Circa 2019


Quantum scrambling is the dispersal of local information into many-body quantum entanglements and correlations distributed throughout an entire system. This concept accompanies the dynamics of thermalization in closed quantum systems, and has recently emerged as a powerful tool for characterizing chaos in black holes1,2,3,4. However, the direct experimental measurement of quantum scrambling is difficult, owing to the exponential complexity of ergodic many-body entangled states. One way to characterize quantum scrambling is to measure an out-of-time-ordered correlation function (OTOC); however, because scrambling leads to their decay, OTOCs do not generally discriminate between quantum scrambling and ordinary decoherence. Here we implement a quantum circuit that provides a positive test for the scrambling features of a given unitary process5,6. This approach conditionally teleports a quantum state through the circuit, providing an unambiguous test for whether scrambling has occurred, while simultaneously measuring an OTOC. We engineer quantum scrambling processes through a tunable three-qubit unitary operation as part of a seven-qubit circuit on an ion trap quantum computer. Measured teleportation fidelities are typically about 80 per cent, and enable us to experimentally bound the scrambling-induced decay of the corresponding OTOC measurement.

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