Geometry of variational methods: dynamics of closed quantum systems

Lucas Hackl, Tommaso Guaita, Tao Shi, Jutho Haegeman, Eugene Demler, J. Ignacio Cirac
Scipost Physics 9, 048 (2020)   Published 2020

Abstract

We present a systematic geometric framework to study closed quantum systems based on suitably chosen variational families. For the purpose of (A) real time evolution, (B) excitation spectra, (C) spectral functions and (D) imaginary time evolution, we show how the geometric approach highlights the necessity to distinguish between two classes of manifolds: Kähler and non-Kähler. Traditional variational methods typically require the variational family to be a Kähler manifold, where multiplication by the imaginary unit preserves the tangent spaces. This covers the vast majority of cases studied in the literature. However, recently proposed classes of generalized Gaussian states make it necessary to also include the non-Kähler case, which has already been encountered occasionally. We illustrate our approach in detail with a range of concrete examples where the geometric structures of the considered manifolds are particularly relevant. These go from Gaussian states and group theoretic coherent states to generalized Gaussian states.