Out-of-Time-Ordered-Correlator Quasiprobabilities Robustly Witness Scrambling


Out-of-time-ordered correlators (OTOCs) have received considerable recent attention as qualitative witnesses of information scrambling in many-body quantum systems. Theoretical discussions of OTOCs typically focus on closed systems, raising the question of their suitability as scrambling witnesses in realistic open systems. We demonstrate that nonclassicality of the quasiprobability distribution (QPD) behind the OTOC is a more sensitive witness for scrambling than the OTOC itself. Nonclassical features of the QPD evolve with time scales that are robust with respect to decoherence and are immune to false positives caused by decoherence. To reach this conclusion, we numerically simulate spin-chain dynamics and three experimental protocols for measuring OTOCs: interferometric, quantum-clock, and weak-measurement. We target implementations with quantum-computing hardware such as superconducting qubits or trapped ions.

Physical Review Letters 122, 040404
Justin Dressel
Justin Dressel
Associate Professor of Physics

Researches quantum information, computation, and foundations.