A major test of the capabilities of modern quantum simulators and NISQ devices is the reliable realization of gauge theories, which constitute a gold standard of implementational efficacy. In addition to unavoidable unitary errors, realistic experiments suffer from decoherence, which compromises gauge invariance and, therefore, the gauge theory itself. Here, we study the effect of decoherence on the quench dynamics of a lattice gauge theory. Rigorously identifying the gauge violation as a divergence measure in the gauge sectors, we find at short times that it first grows diffusively ∼γt due to decoherence at environment-coupling strength γ, before unitary errors at strength λ dominate and the violation grows ballistically ∼λ2t2. We further introduce multiple quantum coherences in the context of gauge theories to quantify decoherence effects. Both experimentally accessible measures will be of independent interest beyond the immediate context of this work.

J. C. Halimeh, V. Kasper, and P. Hauke, “Fate of Lattice Gauge Theories Under Decoherence”, arXiv:2009.07848 (2020).


Related to Project: B04