Publications by Paul Fendley

Prethermal strong zero modes and topological qubits

Physical Review X American Physical Society 7 (2017) 041062

DV Else, P Fendley, J Kemp, C Nayak

We prove that quantum information encoded in some topological excitations, including certain Majorana zero modes, is protected in closed systems for a time scale exponentially long in system parameters. This protection holds even at infinite temperature. At lower temperatures, the decay time becomes even longer, with a temperature dependence controlled by an effective gap that is parametrically larger than the actual energy gap of the system. This nonequilibrium dynamical phenomenon is a form of prethermalization and occurs because of obstructions to the equilibration of edge or defect degrees of freedom with the bulk. We analyze the ramifications for ordered and topological phases in one, two, and three dimensions, with examples including Majorana and parafermionic zero modes in interacting spin chains. Our results are based on a nonperturbative analysis valid in any dimension, and they are illustrated by numerical simulations in one dimension. We discuss the implications for experiments on quantum-dot chains tuned into a regime supporting end Majorana zero modes and on trapped ion chains.

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