30 March 2020 Congratulations to New ICFO PhD graduate

Dr. Angelo Piga

Online support for Dr. Piga

Dr. Angelo Piga graduated with a thesis entitled “Entanglement and Bell Correlations in Strongly Correlated Many-Body Quantum Systems” We congratulate Dr. Angelo Piga who defended his thesis in an online presentation today due to social distancing to contain the Coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Piga received his Masters degree in Physics at the University of Pisa before joining the Quantum Optics Theory research group led by ICREA Prof. at ICFO Dr. Maciej Lewenstein, where he studied emergent behaviors of many-body quantum systems. Dr. Piga’s thesis, entitled “Entanglement and Bell Correlations in Strongly Correlated Many-Body Quantum Systems”, was supervised by Prof. Dr. Maciej Lewenstein and Dr. Shi-ju Ran .

During the past two decades, thanks to the mutual fertilization of the research in quantum information and condensed matter, new approaches based on purely quantum features without any classical analog turned out to be very useful in the characterization of many-body quantum systems (MBQS). A peculiar role is obviously played by the study of purely quantum correlations, manifesting in the “spooky” properties of entanglement and nonlocality (or Bell correlations), which ultimately discriminate classical from quantum regimes. It is, in fact, such kind of correlations that give rise to the plethora of intriguing emergent behaviors of MBQS, which cannot be reduced to a mere sum of the behaviors of individual components, the most important example being the quantum phase transitions. However, despite being indeed closely related concepts, entanglement and nonlocality are actually two different resources.

With regard to the entanglement, we will use it to characterize several instances of MBQS, to exactly locate and characterize quantum phase transitions in spin-lattices and interacting fermionic systems, to classify different gapped quantum phases according to their topological features and to provide a purely quantum signature of chaos in dynamical systems.

Our approach will be mainly numerical and for simulating the ground states of several one-dimensional lattice systems we draw heavily on the celebrated “density matrix renormalization group” (DMRG) algorithm in the “matrix product state” (MPS) ansatz. A MPS is a one-dimensional tensor network (TN) representation for quantum states and occupies a pivotal position in what we have gained in thinking MBQS from an entanglement perspective. In fact, the success of TNs states mainly relies on their fulfillment, by construction, of the so called “entanglement area law”. This is a feature shared by the ground states of gapped Hamiltonians with short-range interactions among the components and consists of a sub-extensive entanglement entropy, which grows only with the surface of the bipartition. This property translates in a reduced complexity of such systems, allowing affordable simulations, with an exponential reduction of computational costs. Besides the use of already existing TN-based algorithms, an effort will be done to develop a new one suitable for high-dimensional lattices. While many useful results are available for the entanglement in many different contexts, less is known about the role of nonlocality. Formally, a state of a multi-party system is defined nonlocal if its correlations violate some “Bell inequality (BI). The derivation of the BIs for systems consisting of many parties is a formidable task and only recently a class of them, relevant for nontrivial states, has been proposed. In an important chapter of the thesis, we apply these BIs to fully characterize the phase transition of a long-range ferromagnetic Ising model, doing a comparison with entanglement-based results and then making one of the first efforts in the study of MBQS from a nonlocality perspective.

Prof Bruno Júlia, Universitat de Barcelona
Prof Dr Antonio Acín, ICFO
Prof Alessio Celi, Univesitat Autònoma de Barcelona