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Spectral features of a many-body-localized system weakly coupled to a bath

Author(s): Nandkishore, Rahul; Gopalakrishnan, Sarang; Huse, David A

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Abstract: We study many-body-localized (MBL) systems that are weakly coupled to thermalizing environments, focusing on the spectral functions of local operators. These spectral functions carry signatures of localization even away from the limit of perfectly isolated systems. We find that, in the limit of vanishing coupling to a bath, MBL systems come in two varieties, with either discrete or continuous local spectra. Both varieties of MBL systems exhibit a “soft gap” at zero frequency in the spatially averaged spectral functions of local operators, which serves as a diagnostic for localization. We estimate the degree to which coupling to a bath broadens these spectral features, and we find that some characteristics of incipient localization survive as long as the system-bath coupling is much weaker than the characteristic energy scales of the system. We discuss the crossover to localization that occurs as the coupling to the external bath is tuned to zero. Since perfect isolation is impossible, we expect the ideas discussed in this paper to be relevant for experiments on many-body localization.
Publication Date: 27-Aug-2014
Electronic Publication Date: 1-Aug-2014
Citation: Nandkishore, Rahul, Gopalakrishnan, Sarang, Huse, David A. (2014). Spectral features of a many-body-localized system weakly coupled to a bath. PHYSICAL REVIEW B, 90 (10.1103/PhysRevB.90.064203
DOI: doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.90.064203
ISSN: 2469-9950
EISSN: 2469-9969
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: PHYSICAL REVIEW B
Version: Final published version. Article is made available in OAR by the publisher's permission or policy.

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