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The entanglement entropies of nuclear systems increase as the volume of these systems increases.


Newswise — Science

Entanglement is what Einstein calls “spooky action at a distance.” This is a key element of what distinguishes Quantum mechanics of our daily experience. In quantum mechanics, scientists use a measure called entanglement entropy to quantify the extent of entanglement between two subsystems, for example between a system being studied and its environment. Large entanglement entropies indicate that a system has strong correlations with its environment. In many systems, entanglement entropies are proportional to the area that separates a system from its environment. This is also true for black holes, where the growth of energy-related entropy is proportional to the area of ​​the event horizon. But the nuclei atoms are different. The complicated interactions in nuclei lead to entanglement entropies which grow as the volume of the system of interest, and not as its surface.

The impact

Calculating the state of a quantum system is difficult because it requires scientists to accurately capture the system’s entanglement with its environment. New research quantifies entanglement entropies for neutron matter. Using related measurements, the research also quantifies this entropy for atoms. nuclei. This work can contribute to quantum computing helping researchers understand how the number of operations needed to prepare a state on a quantum chip increases with increasing entanglement entropy.


Researchers have studied entanglement entropies between mean field space and its surroundings in nuclear systems. Because entanglement entropies are difficult to calculate, researchers have also derived relationships to easier-to-calculate measures. Research has shown that entanglement entropies are related to other quantities that are easier to calculate and can serve as witnesses of entanglement. General arguments also suggest that the entanglement entropy in nuclear systems respects a volume law instead of a surface law. This work tested and confirmed these results by calculating the entanglement entropies of atomic models. nuclei and neutron matter.


This material is based on work supported by the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science, the Office of Nuclear Physics, and by the Quantum Science Center, a DOE national quantum information science research center . Computer time was provided by the INCITE (Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment) program. This research used resources at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Link to journal: Physical Exam C, November 2023


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