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Atomic Gauge and Entanglement Theories

Periodic Reporting for period 4 - AGEnTh (Atomic Gauge and Entanglement Theories)

Reporting period: 2022-11-01 to 2023-04-30

Quantum mechanics governs the behavior of fundamental constituents of matter, from atoms and molecules to light. While the rules of quantum mechanics are remarkably elegant and have been successfully demonstrated in experiments with single atoms, large quantum systems (such as synthetic quantum matter, the hardware of quantum computers) are very complicated objects in particular due to the presence of large amount of entanglement (‘spooky-action’ at distance). Understanding the working mechanisms of such many-body quantum matter requires the development and novel methods to probe and engineer quantum matter. These progresses in basic science are pivotal to enhance the capabilities of quantum simulators and computers both at providing insights on outstanding problems in theoretical physics, as well as at unlocking the tremendous opportunities offered by quantum physics in terms of technological applications.

Within this framework, the overall objectives of AGEnTh were to provide a new framework to probe quantum simulators, and to theoretically showcase the capabilities of such machines to demonstrate interesting, fundamental physical phenomena within state of the art platforms.
We have introduced and applied new methods to understand the basic principles of entangled quantum matter utilizing a highly interdisciplinary approach that combined traditional concepts in quantum many-body physics with approaches from very disparate fields - from mathematical physics, to data science and quantum optics.

In parallel, we have proposed experiments where such quantum simulators can be used to study the dynamics of ‘gauge theories’ - models that are typically used to describe particle physics, such as the standard model. We have provided theory explanations of Rydberg atom experiments, pointing out their relevance to gauge theories at both qualitative and quantitative level, and clarifying their future potential in terms of enabling discoveries.

Our results have been disseminated both to specialized audiences via publication of more than 50 articles and preprints, and confernence participation, as well as to the general public, via participation to radio programmes and national TV documentaries, and interviews on science popularization journals and websites.
Our results have shown how two fascinating aspects of many-body quantum mechanics - highly entangled matter and gauge theories - can be experimentally tested in table top experiments. In establishing so, we have developed a new, operatorial characterization of entanglement, that goes well beyond traditional many-body approaches, and demonstrated the usefulness of non-parametric learning methods in identifying and characterizing quantum states of matter in an assumption-free manner.

On the gauge theory side, our works have conclusively demonstrated that analog simulation of gauge theories is already at the boundary of classical computational methods, something that has stimulated new approaches at the interface between quantum information and particle physics.
Quantum simulation of particle-antiparticle pairs in Rydberg atom arrays