New pre-print on operator entanglement dynamics

“The rise and fall, and slow rise again, of operator entanglement under dephasing”,
D. Wellnitz, G. Preisser, V. Alba, J. Dubail, and J. Schachenmayer,

The operator space entanglement entropy, or simply ‘operator entanglement’ (OE), is an indicator of the complexity of quantum operators and of their approximability by Matrix Product Operators (MPO). We study the OE of the density matrix of a 1D spin chain undergoing dissipative evolution. It is expected that, after an initial linear growth reminiscent of unitary quench dynamics, the OE should be suppressed by dissipative processes as the system evolves to a simple stationary state. Surprisingly, we find that this scenario breaks down for one of the most fundamental dissipative mechanisms: dephasing. Under dephasing, after the initial ‘rise and fall’ the OE can rise again, increasing logarithmically at long times. Using a combination of MPO simulations for chains of infinite length and analytical arguments valid for strong dephasing, we demonstrate that this growth is inherent to a U (1) conservation law. We argue that in an XXZ model the OE grows universally as (1/4) log2t at long times, and trace this behavior back to an anomalous classical diffusion process