Thermalization of Strongly Coupled Field Theories

Vijay Balasubramanian, Alice Bernamonti, Jan De Boer, Neil Barclay Copland, Ben Craps, Esko Keski-Vakkuri, Berndt Müller, Andreas Schäfer, Masaki Shigemori, Wieland Staessens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

253 Citations (Scopus)


Using the holographic mapping to a gravity dual, we calculate 2-point functions, Wilson loops, and entanglement entropy in strongly coupled field theories in d=2, 3, and 4 to probe the scale dependence of thermalization following a sudden injection of energy. For homogeneous initial conditions, the entanglement entropy thermalizes slowest and sets a time scale for equilibration that saturates a causality bound. The growth rate of entanglement entropy density is nearly volume-independent for small volumes but slows for larger volumes. In this setting, the UV thermalizes first.
Original languageEnglish
Article number191601
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2011


  • entropy : entanglement
  • surface : minimal
  • field theory : anti-de Sitter
  • saddle-point approximation
  • AdS/CFT correspondence
  • scale dependence
  • strong coupling
  • Wilson loop
  • causality
  • quenching
  • nonlocal
  • duality
  • field theory : conformal
  • gravitation : duality
  • heavy ion : scattering
  • screening : length
  • invariance : gauge


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