Orthogonality catastrophe 40 years later: fidelity approach, criticality and boundary CFT

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More than forty years ago Nobel laureate P.W. Anderson studied the overlap between two nearby ground states. The result that the overlap tends to zero in the thermodynamics limit was catastrophic for those times. More recently the study of the overlap between ground states, i.e. the fidelity, led to the formulation of the so called fidelity approach to (quantum) phase transition (QPT). This new approach to QPT does not rely on the identification of order parameters or symmetry pattern; rathers it embodies the theory of phase transitions with an operational meaning in terms of measurements. Nowadays orthogonality of ground states is much less surprising. I will provide the general scaling behavior of the fidelity at regular and at critical points of the phase diagrams, Anderson's result being a particular case. These results are useful to many areas of theoretical physics. A related quantity extensively studied here, the fidelity susceptibility, is well known in various other contexts under different names. In metrology it is called quantum Fisher information; in the theory of adiabatic computation it represents the figure of merit for efficient computation; in yet another context it is known as (real part of) the Berry geometric tensor.