Temporal and spatial dependence of quantum entanglement from a field theory perspective

Shih Yuin Lin, B. L. Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Citations (Scopus)


We consider the entanglement dynamics between two Unruh-DeWitt detectors at rest separated at a distance d. This simple model when analyzed properly in quantum field theory shows many interesting facets and helps to dispel some misunderstandings of entanglement dynamics. We find that there is spatial dependence of quantum entanglement in the stable regime due to the phase difference of vacuum fluctuations the two detectors experience, together with the interference of the mutual influences from the backreaction of one detector on the other. When two initially entangled detectors are still outside each other's light cone, the entanglement oscillates in time with an amplitude dependent on spatial separation d. When the two detectors begin to have causal contact, an interference pattern of the relative degree of entanglement (compared to those at spatial infinity) develops a parametric dependence on d. The detectors separated at those d with a stronger relative degree of entanglement enjoy longer disentanglement times. In the cases with weak coupling and large separation, the detectors always disentangle at late times. For sufficiently small d, the two detectors can have residual entanglement even if they initially were in a separable state, while for d a little larger, there could be transient entanglement created by mutual influences. However, we see no evidence of entanglement creation outside the light cone for initially separable states.

Original languageEnglish
Article number085020
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Apr 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)

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