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 ...
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4answers
3k views

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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1answer
716 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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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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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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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 ...
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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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1answer
64 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 ...
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2answers
952 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? ...
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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 ...
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3answers
1k 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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
230 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 ...
14
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2answers
2k 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 ...
7
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1answer
928 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 ...
8
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2answers
5k 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 ...
3
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1answer
849 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 ...
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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 ...
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4answers
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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 ...
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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
726 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 ...
18
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1answer
2k views

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 ...
7
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1answer
661 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 ...
4
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1answer
471 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

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)? ...
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3answers
949 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 ...
2
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1answer
655 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 ...
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3answers
982 views

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 ...
6
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2answers
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 $K$ ...
2
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1answer
2k 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 : ...
10
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1answer
583 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 ...
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3answers
308 views

References on the physics of anyons

Anyone know some good introductory references on the physics of anyons?
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824 views

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 ...
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0answers
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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 ...
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0answers
160 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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1answer
217 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 ...
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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?
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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, ...
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5answers
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What challenges needed to be overcome to create (blue) LEDs?

In light of today's announcement of the 2014 Nobel laureates, and because of a discussion among colleagues about the physical significance of these devices, let me ask: What is the physical ...
9
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2answers
415 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 ...
15
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1answer
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Kubo Formula for Quantum Hall Effect

I'm trying to understand the Kubo Formula for the electrical conductivity in the context of the Quantum Hall Effect. My problem is that several papers, for instance the famous TKNN (1982) paper, or ...
11
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1answer
694 views

What're the relations and differences between slave-fermion and slave-boson formalism?

As we know, in condensed matter theory, especially in dealing with strongly correlated systems, physicists have constructed various "peculiar" slave-fermion and slave-boson theories. For example, For ...
7
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4answers
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What is Fermi surface and why is this concept so useful in metals research?

What is Fermi surface and why is this concept so useful in metals research? Particularly, I can somewhat appreciate the Fermi energy idea - the radius of Fermi surface which is a sphere. But is there ...
8
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2answers
872 views

Majorana zero mode in quantum field theory

Recently, Majorana zero mode becomes very hot in condensed matter physics. I remember there was a lot of study of fermion zero mode in quantum field theory, where advanced math, such as index ...
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2answers
447 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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2answers
2k views

Why does a superconductor obey particle-hole symmetry?

We normally solve the Bogoliubov-de Gennes (BdG) equations in order to compute the energy spectrum of a superconductor. The Nambu spinor is a common object that is used in formulating these equations. ...
7
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1answer
802 views

Is resonating valence bond (RVB) states long-range entangled?

Quantum liquid is at the core of condensed matter theory study, examples include superfluid in Bose Hubbard model, quantum spin liquid around the RK point of a quantum dimer model, string-net ...
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1answer
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Validity of Bogoliubov transformation

In condensed matter physics, one often encounter a Hamiltonian of the form $$\mathcal{H}=\sum_{\bf{k}} \begin{pmatrix}a_{\bf{k}}^\dagger & a_{-\bf{k}}\end{pmatrix} \begin{pmatrix}A_{\bf{k}} ...