Symmetry-protected self-correcting quantum memories

A self-correcting quantum memory can store and protect quantum information for a time that increases without bound with the system size, without the need for active error correction. We demonstrate that symmetry can lead to self-correction in 3D spin lattice models. In particular, we investigate codes given by 2D symmetry-enriched topological (SET) phases that appear naturally on the boundary of 3D symmetry-protected topological (SPT) phases. We find that while conventional onsite symmetries are not sufficient to allow for self-correction in commuting Hamiltonian models of this form, a generalized type of symmetry known as a 1-form symmetry is enough to guarantee self-correction. We illustrate this fact with the 3D `cluster state' model from the theory of quantum computing. This model is a self-correcting memory, where information is encoded in a 2D SET ordered phase on the boundary that is protected by the thermally stable SPT ordering of the bulk. We also investigate the gauge color code in this context. Finally, noting that a 1-form symmetry is a very strong constraint, we argue that topologically ordered systems can possess emergent 1-form symmetries, i.e., models where the symmetry appears naturally, without needing to be enforced externally. Joint work with Stephen Bartlett.

Event Type: 
Scientific Area(s): 
Event Date: 
Wednesday, November 21, 2018 - 16:00 to 17:30
Bob Room
Room #: