Out-of-time-ordered correlation functions (OTOCs) play a crucial role in the study of thermalization, entanglement, and quantum chaos, as they quantify the scrambling of quantum information due to complex interactions. As a consequence of their out-of-time-ordered nature, OTOCs are difficult to measure experimentally. Here we propose an OTOC measurement protocol that does not rely on the reversal of time evolution and is easy to implement in a range of experimental settings. The protocol accounts for both pure and mixed initial states, and is applicable to systems that interact with environmental degrees of freedom. We demonstrate the application of our protocol by the characterization of scrambling in a periodically-driven spin that exhibits quantum chaos.

Phys. Rev. A 106, 042429 – Published 19 October 2022

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