Cumulants of time-integrated observables of closed quantum systems and PT-symmetry, with an application to the quantum Ising chain

James M. Hickey, Emanuele Levi, Juan P. Garrahan

We study the connection between the cumulants of a time-integrated observable of a quantum system and the PT-symmetry properties of the non-Hermitian deformation of the Hamiltonian from which the generating function of these cumulants is obtained. This non-Hermitian Hamiltonian can display regimes of broken and of unbroken PT-symmetry, depending on the parameters of the problem and on the counting field that sets the strength of the non-Hermitian perturbation. This in turn determines the analytic structure of the long-time cumulant generating function (CGF) for the time-integrated observable. We consider in particular the case of the time-integrated (longitudinal) magnetisation in the one-dimensional Ising model in a transverse field. We show that its long-time CGF is singular on a curve in the magnetic field/counting field plane that delimits a regime where PT-symmetry is spontaneously broken (which includes the static ferromagnetic phase), from one where it is preserved (which includes the static paramagnetic phase). In the paramagnetic phase, conservation of PT -symmetry implies that all cumulants are sub-linear in time, a behaviour usually associated to the absence of decorrelation.
Statistical Mechanics (cond-mat.stat-mech); Quantum Physics (quant-ph)

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