Dynamical Topological Transitions in the Massive Schwinger Model with a $\theta$ Term


Aiming at a better understanding of anomalous and topological effects in gauge theories out-of-equilibrium, we study the real-time dynamics of a prototype model for CP-violation, the massive Schwinger model with a $\theta$-term. We identify dynamical quantum phase transitions between different topological sectors that appear after sufficiently strong quenches of the $\theta$-parameter. Moreover, we establish a general dynamical topological order parameter, which can be accessed through fermion two-point correlators and, importantly, which can be applied for interacting theories. Enabled by this result, we show that the topological transitions persist beyond the weak-coupling regime. Finally, these effects can be observed with table-top experiments based on existing cold-atom, superconducting-qubit, and trapped-ion technology. Our work, thus, presents a significant step towards quantum simulating topological and anomalous real-time phenomena relevant to nuclear and high-energy physics.

Phys. Rev. Lett. 122, 050403