Almost conserved operators in nearly many-body localized systems

Nicola Pancotti, Michael Knap, David A. Huse, J. Ignacio Cirac, and Mari Carmen Bañuls
Phys. Rev. B 97, 094206   Published 2018

Abstract

We construct almost conserved local operators, that possess a minimal commutator with the Hamiltonian of the system, near the many-body localization transition of a one-dimensional disordered spin chain. We collect statistics of these slow operators for different support sizes and disorder strengths, both using exact diagonalization and tensor networks. Our results show that the scaling of the average of the smallest commutators with the support size is sensitive to Griffiths effects in the thermal phase and the onset of many-body localization. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the probability distributions of the commutators can be analyzed using extreme value theory and that their tails reveal the difference between diffusive and subdiffusive dynamics in the thermal phase.