Field theory approach to eigenstate thermalization in random quantum circuits

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Yunxiang Liao


We use field-theoretic methods to explore the statistics of eigenfunctions of the Floquet operator for a large family of Floquet random quantum circuits. The correlation function of the quasienergy eigenstates is calculated and shown to exhibit random matrix circular unitary ensemble statistics, which is consistent with the analogue of Berry's conjecture for quantum circuits. This quantity determines all key metrics of quantum chaos, such as the spectral form factor and thermalizing time-dependence of the expectation value of an arbitrary observable. It also allows us to explicitly show that the matrix elements of local operators satisfy the eigenstate thermalization hypothesis (ETH); i.e., the variance of the off-diagonal matrix elements of such operators is exponentially small in the system size. These results represent a proof of ETH for the family of Floquet random quantum circuits at a physical level of rigor. An outstanding open question for this and most of other sigma-model calculations is a mathematically rigorous proof of the validity of the saddle-point approximation in the large-N limit.

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