Anderson orthogonality in the dynamics after a local quantum quench

Wolfgang Münder*, Andreas Weichselbaum, Moshe Goldstein, Yuval Gefen, Jan Von Delft

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a systematic study of the role of Anderson orthogonality for the dynamics after a quantum quench in quantum impurity models, using the numerical renormalization group. As shown by Anderson in 1967, the scattering phase shifts of the single-particle wave functions constituting the Fermi sea have to adjust in response to the sudden change in the local parameters of the Hamiltonian, causing the initial and final ground states to be orthogonal. This so-called Anderson orthogonality catastrophe also influences dynamical properties, such as spectral functions. Their low-frequency behavior shows nontrivial power laws, with exponents that can be understood using a generalization of simple arguments introduced by Hopfield and others for the x-ray edge singularity problem. The goal of this work is to formulate these generalized rules as well as to numerically illustrate them for quantum quenches in impurity models involving local interactions. As a simple yet instructive example, we use the interacting resonant level model as testing ground for our generalized Hopfield rule. We then analyze a model exhibiting population switching between two dot levels as a function of gate voltage, probed by a local Coulomb interaction with an additional lead serving as charge sensor. We confirm a recent prediction that charge sensing can induce a quantum phase transition for this system, causing the population switch to become abrupt. We elucidate the role of Anderson orthogonality for this effect by explicitly calculating the relevant orthogonality exponents.

Original languageEnglish
Article number235104
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number23
StatePublished - 4 Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


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