disconnected? To examine this case in more detail, let usconsider for simplicity a free massless relativistic scalarﬁeld
φ
(
x,t
) and couple it to a pair of twolevel systems,with an energy gap Ω, via the interaction Hamiltonian
H
int
=
H
A
+
H
B
=
ǫ
A
(
t
)(
e
+
i
Ω
t
σ
+
A
+
e
−
i
Ω
t
σ
−
A
)
φ
(
x
A
,t
)+
ǫ
B
(
t
)(
e
+
i
Ω
t
σ
+
B
+
e
−
i
Ω
t
σ
−
B
)
φ
(
x
B
,t
) (2)Here
σ
±
are the atom energylevels raising and loweringoperators, the window functions
ǫ
A
(
t
) and
ǫ
B
(
t
) are nonzero only for a duration
T
such that
T < x
B
−
x
A
(
c
= 1),and
x
A
=
−
L/
2 and
x
B
=
L/
2 are ﬁxed locations.
x  t = 0
x + t = 0
PAPB
FIG. 1. The horizontal direction is space, and the verticaldirection time. The atoms, A and B, are initially in theirground state (
↓
). They are coupled for time
T
to the ﬁeld,and then Puriﬁed (P).
Since the interaction takes place in two causally disconnected spacetime regions, the ﬁeld operators in
H
A
and
H
B
commute, and [
H
A
,H
B
] = 0. Therefore, the evolution operator
U
for the whole system may be written (inthe interaction representation) as a product
U
=
e
−
i
H
A
(
t
)
dt
−
i
H
B
(
t
′
)
dt
′
=
e
−
i
H
A
(
t
)
dt
×
e
−
i
H
B
(
t
′
)
dt
′
(3)This ensures that
U
does not change the net entanglement between the two wedges, it can only redistribute itbetween the local observables within each wedge.Consider now the initial state where the atoms andthe ﬁeld are in their ground state:

Ψ
i
=
 ↓
A
 ↓
B

0
.To see how

Ψ
i
evolves, I will assume that the couplingfunctions
ǫ
i
(
t
) (
i
=
A,B
) are small, and expand
U
tosecond order. Using the notationΦ
±
i
=
dtǫ
i
(
t
)
e
±
i
Ω
t
φ
(
x
i
,t
) (4)the ﬁnal states is

Ψ
f
=
(
1
−
TΦ
−
A
Φ
+
A
−
TΦ
−
B
Φ
+
B
)
↓↓−
Φ
+
A
Φ
+
B
↑↑−
i
Φ
+
A
1
B
↑↓−
i
1
A
Φ
+
B
↓↑

0
+
O
(Φ
3
) (5)where
T
denotes time ordering. In the ﬁrst term abovethe state of the atoms is unchanged. In the second term,both atoms are excited, and the ﬁeld remains in the state

X
AB
≡
Φ
+
A
Φ
+
B

0
. Since

X
AB
contains either two orzero photons, it describes either an emission of two photons, or an exchange of a single “oﬀshell” photon between the atoms (Fig. 2). Finally, the last two termsdescribe an emission of one photons either by atom
A
or
B
. In this case the ﬁnal state of the ﬁeld is

E
A
≡
Φ
+
A

0
,or

E
B
≡
Φ
+
B

0
, respectively.
B
γ
AB
ε ε ε+
2
ABBAA
+
γ γ
FIG. 2. Emission and exchange processes.
Tracing over the ﬁeld degrees of freedom, and usingthe basis
{
i
,

j
}
=
{↓↓
,
↑↑
,
↑↓
,
↓↑}
, and the notation

X
AB

2
=
X
AB

X
AB
, I ﬁnd that to the lowest orderthe atoms (reduced) density matrix
ρ
=
1
−
X
AB

0
0 0
−
0

X
AB

X
AB

2
0 00 0

E
A

2
E
B

E
A
0 0
E
A

E
B

E
B

2
(6)Note two types of oﬀdiagonal matrix elements. In theupper block, the amplitude
0

X
AB
acts as to maintaincoherence between the
 ↓
A
↓
B
and the
 ↑
A
↑
B
states.In the lower block,
E
A

E
B
acts to maintain coherencebetween
↓
A
↑
B
and
↑
A
↓
B
. The relative magnitude of these oﬀdiagonal terms, compared to the diagonal (decoherence) terms determines if the density matrix is separable.A suﬃcient condition [10] for inseparability is that thematrix obtained by taking the partial transpose [11] of
ρ
,is nonpositive. (For a 2
×
2 system this is also a necessarycondition [12]). I ﬁnd that (6) is inseparable if either of
the following inequalities is satisﬁed

0

X
AB

2
>

E
A

2

E
B

2
(7)or

E
B

E
A

2
>

X
AB

2
(8)The ﬁrst inequality, (7), amounts for the requirementthat the single virtual photon exchange process, is moreprobable than an emission of one photon by each atom.Inseparability is then induced by states like
 ↓
↓
B
+
α
 ↑
A
↑
B
. Considering the second inequality (8), notethat
E
A

E
B
measures the overlap of a photons emittedby atom
A
and
B
. Hence it demands that this overlap is2