02 Jun 2021
Towards simulating 2D effects in lattice gauge theories on a quantum computer
Gauge theories are the most successful theories for describing nature at its fundamental level, but obtaining analytical or numerical solutions often remains a challenge. We propose an experimental quantum simulation scheme to study ground state properties in two-dimensional quantum electrodynamics (2D QED) using existing quantum technology. The proposal builds on a formulation of lattice gauge theories as effective spin models in arXiv:2006.14160, which reduces the number of qubits needed by eliminating redundant degrees of freedom and by using an efficient truncation scheme for the gauge fields. The latter endows our proposal with the perspective to take a well-controlled continuum limit. Our protocols allow in principle scaling up to large lattices and offer the perspective to connect the lattice simulation to low energy observable quantities, e.g. the hadron spectrum, in the continuum theory. By including both dynamical matter and a non-minimal gauge field truncation, we provide the novel opportunity to observe 2D effects on present-day quantum hardware. More specifically, we present two Variational Quantum Eigensolver (VQE) based protocols for the study of magnetic field effects, and for taking an important first step towards computing the running coupling of QED. For both instances, we include variational quantum circuits for qubit-based hardware, which we explicitly apply to trapped ion quantum computers. We simulate the proposed VQE experiments classically to calculate the required measurement budget under realistic conditions. While this feasibility analysis is done for trapped ions, our approach can be easily adapted to other platforms. The techniques presented here, combined with advancements in quantum hardware pave the way for reaching beyond the capabilities of classical simulations by extending our framework to include fermionic potentials or topological terms.
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