Entanglement and the fermion sign problem - Peter Broecker

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The precise determination of the entanglement of an interacting quantum many-body systems is now appreciated as an indispensable tool to identify the fundamental character of the ground state of such systems. This is particularly true for unconventional ground states harbouring non-local topological order or so-called quantum spin liquids that evade a standard description in terms of correlation functions. With the entanglement entropy emerging as one of the central measures of entanglement, recent progress has focused on a precise characterization of its scaling behaviour, in particular in the determination of (subleading) corrections to the prevalent boundary-law.

In the past years, much progress has been made for certain spin, bosonic, and even fermionic quantum many-body systems. However, a large class of interacting models is thought to be exempt from numerical studies due to the fermion sign problem. At its heart, it occurs when the statistical weights in the simulation are positive and negative resulting in an exponential scaling of the algorithm instead of a polynomial one. In this work, we study the connection of the sign problem and the entanglement entropy using Determinantal Quantum Monte Carlo, the method of choice for unbiased, large-scale simulations of fermionic systems. We show that there is a strong correlation between the behavior of the entanglement entropy and the sign problem and that the particular structure of the ‘observable’ entanglement entropy to some extent allows to handle the sign problem much better than for usual correlation functions.