Spread of entanglement and causality

  • Horacio Casini
  • Hong Liu
  • Márk Mezei
Open Access
Regular Article - Theoretical Physics


We investigate causality constraints on the time evolution of entanglement entropy after a global quench in relativistic theories. We first provide a general proof that the so-called tsunami velocity is bounded by the speed of light. We then generalize the free particle streaming model of [1] to general dimensions and to an arbitrary entanglement pattern of the initial state. In more than two spacetime dimensions the spread of entanglement in these models is highly sensitive to the initial entanglement pattern, but we are able to prove an upper bound on the normalized rate of growth of entanglement entropy, and hence the tsunami velocity. The bound is smaller than what one gets for quenches in holographic theories, which highlights the importance of interactions in the spread of entanglement in many-body systems. We propose an interacting model which we believe provides an upper bound on the spread of entanglement for interacting relativistic theories. In two spacetime dimensions with multiple intervals, this model and its variations are able to reproduce intricate results exhibited by holographic theories for a significant part of the parameter space. For higher dimensions, the model bounds the tsunami velocity at the speed of light. Finally, we construct a geometric model for entanglement propagation based on a tensor network construction for global quenches.


AdS-CFT Correspondence Field Theories in Higher Dimensions 


Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits any use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto Balseiro, Centro AtomicoBarilocheArgentina
  2. 2.Center for Theoretical PhysicsMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeU.S.A.
  3. 3.Princeton Center for Theoretical SciencePrinceton UniversityPrincetonU.S.A.

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