Work on certifying fermionic quantum simulators goes to press in the Physical Review Letters. The experimental interest in realizing quantum spin-1/2-chains has increased uninterruptedly over the last decade. In many instances, the target quantum simulation belongs to the broader class of non-interacting fermionic models, constituting an important benchmark. In spite of this class being analytically efficiently tractable, no direct certification tool has yet been reported for it. In fact, in experiments, certification has almost exclusively relied on notions of quantum state tomography scaling very unfavorably with the system size. Here, we develop experimentally-friendly fidelity witnesses for all pure fermionic Gaussian target states. Their expectation value yields a tight lower bound to the fidelity and can be measured efficiently. We derive witnesses in full generality in the Majorana-fermion representation and apply them to experimentally relevant spin-1/2 chains. Among others, we show how to efficiently certify strongly out-of-equilibrium dynamics in critical Ising chains. At the heart of the measurement scheme is a variant of importance sampling specially tailored to overlaps between covariance matrices. The method is shown to be robust against finite experimental-state infidelities.
News from Mar 11, 2018