Many-body localization and thermalization in the full probability distribution function of observables

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Elena Canovi, Davide Rossini, Rosario Fazio, Giuseppe E. Santoro, Alessandro Silva


New J. Phys. 14 095020 (2012)

We investigate the relation between thermalization following a quantum quench and many-body localization in quasi-particle space in terms of the long-time full distribution function of physical observables. In particular, expanding on our recent work (Canovi et al 2011 Phys. Rev. B 83 094431), we focus on the long-time behavior of an integrable XXZ chain subject to an integrability-breaking perturbation. After a characterization of the breaking of integrability and the associated localization/delocalization transition using the level spacing statistics and the properties of the eigenstates, we study the effect of integrability breaking on the asymptotic state after a quantum quench of the anisotropy parameter, looking at the behavior of the full probability distribution of the transverse and longitudinal magnetization of a subsystem. We compare the resulting distributions with those obtained in equilibrium at an effective temperature set by the initial energy. We find that, while the long-time distribution functions appear to always agree qualitatively with the equilibrium ones, quantitative agreement is obtained only when integrability is fully broken and the relevant eigenstates are diffusive in quasi-particle space.