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Direct Measurement of Nonlocal Interactions in the Many-Body Localized Phase

Physical Review Research, vol. 4 (2022), pp. 013148


The interplay of interactions and strong disorder can lead to an exotic quantum many-body localized (MBL) phase of matter. Beyond the absence of transport, the MBL phase has distinctive signatures, such as slow dephasing and logarithmic entanglement growth; they commonly result in slow and subtle modifications of the dynamics, rendering their measurement challenging. Here, we experimentally characterize these properties of the MBL phase in a system of coupled superconducting qubits. By implementing phase sensitive techniques, we map out the structure of local integrals of motion in the MBL phase. Tomographic reconstruction of single and two-qubit density matrices allows us to determine the spatial and temporal entanglement growth between the localized sites. In addition, we study the preservation of entanglement in the MBL phase. The interferometric protocols implemented here detect affirmative quantum correlations and exclude artifacts due to the imperfect isolation of the system. By measuring elusive MBL quantities, our work highlights the advantages of phase sensitive measurements in studying novel phases of matter.

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