The study of physical properties condensed phases of matter, including solids and liquids.

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How does electricity propagate in a conductor?

On a systems level, I understand that as electrons are pushed into a wire, there is a net field and a net electron velocity. And I've read that the net electron drift is slow. But electricity ...
2
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1answer
959 views

Why path integral approach may suffer from operator ordering problem?

In Assa Auerbach's book (Ref. 1), he gave an argument saying that in the normal process of path integral, we lose information about ordering of operators by ignoring the discontinuous path. What did ...
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6answers
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Books for Condensed Matter Physics

What are some good condensed matter physics books that can fill the gap between Ashcroft & Mermin and research papers? Suggestions for any specialized topics (such as superconductivity, CFT, ...
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5answers
6k views

What does it mean for a Hamiltonian or system to be gapped or gapless?

I've read some papers recently that talk about gapped Hamiltonians or gapless systems, but what does it mean? Edit: Is an XX spin chain in a magnetic field gapped? Why or why not?
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3answers
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Are elementary particles actually more elementary than quasiparticles?

Quarks and leptons are considered elementary particles, while phonons, holes, and solitons are quasiparticles. In light of emergent phenomena, such as fractionally charged particles in fractional ...
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1answer
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What is the relationship between string net theory and string / M-theory?

I've just learned from this one of Prof. Wen's answers that there exists a theory called string net theory. Since I've never heard about this before it picks my curiosity, so I`d like to ask some ...
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3answers
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Good reading on the Keldysh formalism

I'd like some suggestions for good reading materials on the Keldysh formalism in a condensed matter context. I'm familiar with the imaginary time, coherent state, and path integral formalisms, but ...
8
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2answers
6k views

How does quantum trapping with diamagnets work?

I just saw this demonstration by someone from a Tel Aviv University lab. What they achieved there is mind blowing. I myself own a levitron that uses the Hall effect to levitate a magnet, the problem ...
2
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1answer
96 views

Ambiguity on the notion of potential in electrical circuits?

As everybody else I have been taught elementary electrical circuits from secondary school to engineering level in analog electronics at university. Invariably, the notion of potential used to ...
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10answers
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What is spontaneous symmetry breaking in QUANTUM systems?

Most descriptions of spontaneous symmetry breaking, even for spontaneous symmetry breaking in quantum systems, actually only give a classical picture. According to the classical picture, spontaneous ...
11
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3answers
2k views

Reconciling topological insulators and topological order

We make an important distinction between the topological insulators (which are essentially uncorrelated band insulators, "with a twist") and topological order (which covers a variety of exotic ...
23
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6answers
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Do photons gain mass when they travel through glass?

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that photons slow down when travelling through glass. Does this mean they gain mass? Otherwise, what happens to extra kinetic energy? I understand now ...
11
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4answers
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What happens when we cut objects?

What is the role of the molecular bonds in the process of cutting something? What is the role of the Pauli exclusion principle, responsible for the "hardness" of matter? Moreover, is all the energy ...
20
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5answers
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Simple models that exhibit topological phase transitions

There are a number of physical systems with phases described by topologically protected invariants (fractional quantum Hall, topological insulators) but what are the simplest mathematical models that ...
25
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2answers
1k views

Why do we expect our theories to be independent of cutoffs?

Final edit: I think I pretty much understand now (touch wood)! But there's one thing I don't get. What's the physical reason for expecting the correlation functions to be independent of the cutoff? ...
9
votes
1answer
973 views

Topological band structure, difference between a sphere and a donut

Kohmoto from TKNN(Thouless-Kohmoto-Nightingale-deNijs) who described the topology of the integer quantum hall effect always stressed the importance of the 2D Brillouin zone being a donut due to ...
10
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1answer
640 views

Do we have magnetic monopole? Is charge, according to yesterdays paper on Nature by Ray-Roukokoski-Kandel-Möttönen-Hall (30.01.14) quantized?

As everybody here knows, Maxwell's equation would look more beautiful if a magnetig charge were present. Beyond the aesthetics question, if a single magnetic Dirac monopole would be found, the ...
2
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2answers
317 views

Two puzzles on the Projective Symmetry Group(PSG)?

Recently I'm studying PSG and I felt very puzzled about two statements appeared in Wen's paper. To present the questions clearly, imagine that we use the Shwinger-fermion ...
18
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5answers
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A pedestrian explanation of conformal blocks

I would be very happy if someone could take a stab at conveying what conformal blocks are and how they are used in conformal field theory (CFT). I'm finally getting the glimmerings of understanding ...
14
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2answers
3k views

What is a resonating valence bond (RVB) state?

There's something known as a "resonating valence bond" (RVB) state, which plays a role in at least some attempts to understand physics of high-$T_c$ superconductors. This, roughly, involves a state ...
9
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1answer
2k views

Is edge state of topological insulator really robust?

I am a little confused! Some people are arguing that the gapless edge state of Topological insulator is robust as long as the time reversal symmetry is not broken,while other people say that it is ...
6
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2answers
743 views

Why is the Fermi surface stable?

As a condensed matter physicist, I take it for granted that a Fermi surface is stable. But it is stable with respect to what? For instance, Cooper pairing is known as an instability of the Fermi ...
4
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1answer
542 views

A physical understanding of fractionalization

all! Is there a physical understanding of fractionalization in condensed matter physics? The textbook approach is theoretical, not physical. I'm thinking of spin-charge separation for electrons, the ...
3
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1answer
1k views

Why we call the ground state of Kitaev model a Spin Liquid?

Now we always talk about the so-called Kitaev spin liquid. One important property of spin liquid is global spin rotation symmetry. Let $\Psi$ represents a spin ground state, if $\Psi$ has global spin ...
5
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2answers
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How does a phonon cause two electrons to attract each other and form a cooper pair?

We know that like charges repel each other. But my professor claimed that two electrons can attract each other as well. What he said was that due to screening an electron travelling at some speed ...
9
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3answers
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Is the speed of sound almost as high as the speed of light in neutron stars?

Have you ever wondered about the elastic properties of neutron stars? Such stars, being immensely dense, in which neutrons are bound together by the strong nuclear force on top of the strong gravity ...
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3answers
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What is the mathematical reason for topological edge states?

There are many free fermion systems that possess topological edge/boundary states. Examples include quantum Hall insulators and topological insulators. No matter chiral or non-chiral, 2D or 3D, ...
20
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1answer
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Emergent symmetries

As we know, spontaneous symmetry breaking(SSB) is a very important concept in physics. Loosely speaking, zero temprature SSB says that the Hamiltonian of a quantum system has some symmetry, but the ...
9
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2answers
668 views

Understanding Elitzur's theorem from Polyakov's simple argument?

I was reading through the first chapter of Polyakov's book "Gauge-fields and Strings" and couldn't understand a hand-wavy argument he makes to explain why in systems with discrete gauge-symmetry only ...
16
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4answers
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Quantum Hall effect for dummies

In the past few days I've become increasingly intrigued by the QHE, mainly thanks to very interesting questions and answers that have appeared here. Unfortunately, I am as of yet very confused by all ...
13
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3answers
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Condensed matter application of AdS/CFT

I'm going to be teaching a course on gauge/gravity duality (aka AdS/CFT) in the winter. The focus will be on applications in particle theory including $N=4$ SYM, the viscosity/entropy bound, and ...
21
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1answer
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How Fundamental is Spin-Orbit Coupling to Topological Insulators?

I'm well aware this is a very active area of research so the best answer one can give to this question may be incomplete. Topological states in condensed matter are well-known, even if not always ...
8
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0answers
539 views

When can we take the Brillouin zone to be a sphere?

When reading some literatures on topological insulators, I've seen authors taking Brillouin zone(BZ) to be a sphere sometimes, especially when it comes to strong topological insulators. Also I've seen ...
7
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2answers
966 views

A question about Haldane's conjecture

Haldane's conjecture states that the integer spin antiferromagnetic Heisenberg chains have a gap in the excitation spectrum. However, the dispersion relation of the antiferromagnetic spin wave is ...
4
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1answer
2k views

What conductance is measured for the quantum spin Hall state when the Hall conductance vanishes?

It's probably just a definition, but what did König et al. actually measure when he confirmed the existence of surface states in CdTe/HgTe/CdTe quantum wells (see http://arxiv.org/abs/0710.0582)? ...
8
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1answer
772 views

Counterexamples to the bulk-boundary correspondence (topological insulators)

In the literature on topological insulators and superconductors the 'bulk-boundary correspondence' features quite heavily. One version of this conjecture says roughly: "At an interface between two ...
2
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1answer
873 views

Condensed matter physics for mathematicians [duplicate]

What is a good way for me to learn the basics of condensed matter physics? I'd like to get a better understanding of the fundamentals behind recent technological developments like OLEDs, applications ...
14
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3answers
1k views

Shine a light into a superconductor

A type-I superconductor can expel almost all magnetic flux (below some critical value $H_c$) from its interior when superconducting. Light as we know is an electromagnetic wave. So what would happen ...
7
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3answers
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Mathematical rigorous introduction to solid state physics

I am looking for a good mathematical rigorous introduction to solid state physics. The style and level for this solid state physics book should be comparable to Abraham Marsdens Foundations of ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

Which derivation of drift velocity is correct?

In the derivation of drift velocity I have seen two variations and want to know which one's correct. $s=ut+\frac{at^2}{2}$ Assume that the drift velocity of any electron in any conductor is : ...
6
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3answers
1k views

A question on the existence of Dirac points in graphene?

As we know, there are two distinct Dirac points for the free electrons in graphene. Which means that the energy spectrum of the 2$\times$2 Hermitian matrix $H(k_x,k_y)$ has two degenerate points $K$ ...
8
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3answers
365 views

References on the physics of anyons

Anyone know some good introductory references on the physics of anyons?
3
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2answers
927 views

What does Fermi level in the band gap mean?

What does it mean that the Fermi level for some semiconductors lie in the band gap? Is Fermi level definition different from what is know as usual? We define the Fermi level as the highest level of ...
3
votes
0answers
131 views

Is the $SU(2)$ flux defined in the context of Projective Symmetry Group(PSG) an observable quantity?

The $SU(2)$ flux defined in the context of PSG is as follows: Consider the mean-field Hamiltonian $H_{MF}=\sum(\psi_i^\dagger\chi_{ij}\psi_j+H.c.)$ description of a 2D lattice spin-model, the ...
1
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2answers
483 views

Anticommutatorrelation in Bogoliubov-de Gennes Hamiltonian

I almost solved the problem Equivalence of Bogoliubov-de Gennes Hamiltonian for nanowire. In the next steps I used the notation by arXiv:0707.1692: $$ \Psi^{\dagger} = ...
2
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0answers
206 views

Where can I find a complete list of metamaterials up to today?

Where might I find a list of all the metamaterials up-to-date?
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2answers
466 views

Intro to Solid State Physics

I didn't see this listed on the books page so here it is. I'm currently in an introductory Solid State course, and we are using Kittel's book. I have been having a rough time with this book although I ...
1
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3answers
223 views

Holes in a P-type semiconductor under external force E

Basically in almost every semiconductor texts, there will be all these concepts concerning electrons, holes, dopants, fermi-levels. However, I have been always confused about the picture of hole ...
1
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2answers
211 views

What is the origin of nonconservative force?

My understanding about conservative force is a force that its work is independent of path such that we can construct another form of the work called potential to make our life easier. For friction, ...
17
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2answers
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Basic questions in Majorana fermions

Why any fermion can be written as a combination of two Majorana fermions? Is there any physical meaning in it? Why Majorana fermion can be used for topological quantum computation?