Phase transitions and edge scaling of number variance in Gaussian random matrices

Ricardo Marino 1 Satya N. Majumdar 1 Grégory Schehr 1 Pierpaolo Vivo 1

Physical Review Letters, American Physical Society, 2014, 112, pp.254101

We consider $N\times N$ Gaussian random matrices, whose average density of eigenvalues has the Wigner semi-circle form over $[-\sqrt{2},\sqrt{2}]$. For such matrices, using a Coulomb gas technique, we compute the large $N$ behavior of the probability $\mathcal{P}_{\scriptscriptstyle N,L}(N_L)$ that $N_L$ eigenvalues lie within the box $[-L,L]$. This probability scales as $\mathcal{P}_{\scriptscriptstyle N,L}(N_L=\kappa_L N)\approx\exp\left(-{\beta} N^2 \psi_L(\kappa_L)\right)$, where $\beta$ is the Dyson index of the ensemble and $\psi_L(\kappa_L)$ is a $\beta$-independent rate function that we compute exactly. We identify three regimes as $L$ is varied: (i) $\, N^{-1}\ll L<\sqrt{2}$ (bulk), (ii) $\ L\sim\sqrt{2}$ on a scale of $\mathcal{O}(N^{-{2}/{3}})$ (edge) and (iii) $\ L > \sqrt{2}$ (tail). We find a dramatic non-monotonic behavior of the number variance $V_N(L)$ as a function of $L$: after a logarithmic growth $\propto \ln (N L)$ in the bulk (when $L \sim {\cal O}(1/N)$), $V_N(L)$ decreases abruptly as $L$ approaches the edge of the semi-circle before it decays as a stretched exponential for $L > \sqrt{2}$. This "drop-off" of $V_N(L)$ at the edge is described by a scaling function $\tilde V_{\beta}$ which smoothly interpolates between the bulk (i) and the tail (iii). For $\beta = 2$ we compute $\tilde V_2$ explicitly in terms of the Airy kernel. These analytical results, verified by numerical simulations, directly provide for $\beta=2$ the full statistics of particle-number fluctuations at zero temperature of 1d spinless fermions in a harmonic trap.

  • 1. LPTMS - Laboratoire de Physique Théorique et Modèles Statistiques