Measuring Entanglement in Condensed Matter Systems

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M. Cramer, M. B. Plenio, and H. Wunderlich
Phys. Rev. Lett. 106, 020401 (2011)

We show how entanglement may be quantified in spin and cold atom many-body systems using standard experimental techniques only. The scheme requires no assumptions on the state in the laboratory, and a lower bound to the entanglement can be read off directly from the scattering cross section of neutrons deflected from solid state samples or the time-of-flight distribution of cold atoms in optical lattices, respectively. This removes a major obstacle which so far has prevented the direct and quantitative experimental study of genuine quantum correlations in many-body systems: The need for a full characterization of the state to quantify the entanglement contained in it. Instead, the scheme presented here relies solely on global measurements that are routinely performed and is versatile enough to accommodate systems and measurements different from the ones we exemplify in this work.