Universal quantum constraints on the butterfly effect

Research paper by David Berenstein, Antonio M. García-García

Indexed on: 05 Jul '16Published on: 05 Jul '16Published in: High Energy Physics - Theory


Lyapunov exponents, a purely classical quantity, play an important role in the evolution of quantum chaotic systems in the semiclassical limit. We conjecture the existence of an upper bound on the Lyapunov exponents that contribute to the quantum motion, namely, even in the semiclassical limit only a limited range of Lyapunov exponents, bounded from above, are important for the quantum evolution. This is a universal feature in any quantum system or quantum field theory, including those with a gravity dual. It has its origin in the finite size of the Hilbert space that is available to an initial quasi-classical configuration. An upper bound also exists in the limit of an infinite Hilbert space provided that the system is in contact with an environment, for instance a thermal bath. An important consequence of this result is a universal quantum bound on the maximum growth rate of the entanglement entropy at zero and finite temperature.