Monday, March 25, 2013

1303.5499 (Jean-Marie Stéphan)

Emptiness formation probability, Toeplitz determinants, and conformal
field theory

Jean-Marie Stéphan
We revisit the study of the emptiness formation probability, the probability of forming a sequence of $\ell$ spins with the same ferromagnetic orientation in the ground-state of a quantum spin chain. We focus on two different examples, exhibiting strikingly different behavior: the XXZ and Ising chains. One has a conserved number of particles, the other does not. In the latter we show that the sequence of fixed spins can be viewed as an additional boundary in imaginary time. We then use conformal field theory (CFT) techniques to derive all universal terms in its scaling, and provide checks in free fermionic systems. These are based on numerical simulations or, when possible, mathematical results on the asymptotic behavior of Toeplitz and Toeplitz+Hankel determinants. A perturbed CFT analysis uncovers an interesting $\ell^{-1}\log \ell$ correction, that also appears in the closely related spin full counting statistics. The XXZ case turns out to be more challenging. We use a simple qualitative picture in which the ferromagnetic sequence of spins freezes all degrees of freedom inside of a certain "arctic" region, that we determine numerically. We also provide numerical evidence for the existence of universal logarithmic terms, generated by the massless field theory living outside of the arctic region.
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