Destruction of string order after a quantum quench

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Marcello Calvanese Strinati, Leonardo Mazza, Manuel Endres, Davide Rossini, and Rosario Fazio



We investigate the evolution of string order in a spin-1 chain following a quantum quench. After initializing the chain in the Affleck-Kennedy-Lieb-Tasaki state, we analyze in detail how string order evolves as a function of time at different length scales. The Hamiltonian after the quench is chosen either to preserve or to suddenly break the symmetry which ensures the presence of string order. Depending on which of these two situations arises, string order is either preserved or lost even at infinitesimal times in the thermodynamic limit. The fact that non-local order may be abruptly destroyed, what we call string-order melting, makes it qualitatively different from typical order parameters `a la Landau. This situation is thoroughly characterized by means of numerical simulations based on matrix product states algorithms and analytical studies based on a short-time expansion for several simplified models.