Quantum simulating lattice gauge theories: ‘particle physics’ with Rydberg atom arrays
Gauge theories are the back-bone of our understanding of nature at the most fundamental level as captured by the standard model. Despite their elegance and conceptual simplicity, gauge theories have historically represented a major computational challenge in many-body theory - including, for instance, the real-time dynamics describing heavy-ion collisions at colliders, which is inaccessible to classical simulations based on Monte Carlo sampling. These challenges have motivated a flurry of theoretical activity over the last ten years, devoted to developing strategies for the quantum simulation of their discretized version - lattice gauge theories.
In this first part of the talk, I will review the status of the field, highlighting potential applications as well as roadblocks, and discussing the first realization of gauge theory dynamics in a trapped-ion quantum computer. In the second part of the talk, I will show how Rydberg atoms trapped in optical tweezers have already realized the real-time dynamics of the lattice Schwinger model (the one-dimensional version of quantum electrodynamics) in the presence of a topological angle, at system sizes at the boundaries of what is achievable with the best known classical algorithms. Finally, I will do a 180-degree turn, and show how experimentally-realistic Abelian and non-Abelian lattice gauge theories provide unheralded insights on the breakdown of thermalization in strongly interacting quantum systems.
Host: Mohammad Hafezi