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Area laws in quantum systems: mutual information and correlations

M.M. Wolf, F. Verstraete, M.B. Hastings, J.I. Cirac

Phys. Rev. Lett. 100, 070502 **, (2008)

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.100.070502 Pfeil
*arXiv.org*: 0704.3906 Pfeil

Abstract: The holographic principle states that on a fundamental level the information content of a region should depend on its surface area rather than on its volume. This counterintuitive idea which has its roots in the nonextensive nature of black-hole entropy serves as a guiding principle in the search for the fundamental laws of Planck-scale physics. In this paper we show that a similar phenomenon emerges from the established laws of classical and quantum physics: the information contained in part of a system in thermal equilibrium obeys an area law. While the maximal information per unit area depends classically only on the number of microscopic degrees of freedom, it may diverge as the inverse temperature in quantum systems. A rigorous relation between area laws and correlations is established and their explicit behavior is revealed for a large class of quantum many-body states beyond equilibrium systems.