Treelike interactions and fast scrambling with cold atoms

Gregory Bentsen, Tomohiro Hashizume, Anton S. Buyskikh, Emily J. Davis, Andrew J. Daley, Steven S. Gubser, Monika Schleier-Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


We propose an experimentally realizable quantum spin model that exhibits fast scrambling, based on nonlocal interactions that couple sites whose separation is a power of 2. By controlling the relative strengths of deterministic, nonrandom couplings, we can continuously tune from the linear geometry of a nearest-neighbor spin chain to an ultrametric geometry in which the effective distance between spins is governed by their positions on a tree graph. The transition in geometry can be observed in quench dynamics, and is furthermore manifest in calculations of the entanglement entropy. Between the linear and treelike regimes, we find a peak in entanglement and exponentially fast spreading of quantum information across the system. Our proposed implementation, harnessing photon-mediated interactions among cold atoms in an optical cavity, offers a test case for experimentally observing the emergent geometry of a quantum many-body system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number130601
Number of pages6
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 23 Sep 2019


  • quantum spin model
  • fast scrambling
  • nearest-neighbor spin chain
  • cold atoms


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