The dynamics of quantum criticality revealed by quantum Monte Carlo and holography Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Understanding the real time dynamics of quantum systems without quasiparticles constitutes an important yet challenging problem. We study the superfluid-insulator quantum-critical point of bosons on a two-dimensional lattice, a system whose excitations cannot be described in a quasiparticle basis. We present detailed quantum Monte Carlo results for two separate lattice realizations: their low-frequency conductivities are found to have the same universal dependence on imaginary frequency and temperature. We then use the structure of the real time dynamics of conformal field theories described by the holographic gauge/gravity duality to make progress on the difficult problem of analytically continuing the Monte Carlo data to real time. Our method yields quantitative and experimentally testable results on the frequency-dependent conductivity near the quantum critical point, and on the spectrum of quasinormal modes in the vicinity of the superfluid-insulator quantum phase transition. Extensions to other observables and universality classes are discussed.

publication date

  • May 2014