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

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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 ...
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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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Renormalization Group for non-equilibrium

For equilibrium/ground state systems, a (Wilson) renormalization group transformation produces a series of systems (flow of Hamiltonians/couplings $H_{\Lambda}$ where $\Lambda$ is the cut-off) such ...
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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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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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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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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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What observables are indicative of BCS Cooper pair condensation?

What observables are indicative of BCS Cooper pair condensation? "Thought" experiments and "numerical" experiments are allowed. This question is motivated by the question Has BCS Cooper pair ...
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Why don't free electrons fall from metals if shaken?

This is a question we were asked at a physics lecture.
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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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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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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 ...
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Edge theory of FQHE - Unable to produce Green's function from anticommutation relations and equation of motion?

I'm studying the edge theory of the fractional quantum Hall effect (FQHE) and I've stumbled on a peculiar contradiction concerning the bosonization procedure which I am unable to resolve. Help! In ...
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Why do quasicrystals have well-defined Fourier transforms?

I was recently reading about quasicrystals, and I was really surprised to learn that even though they do not have a periodic structure, and only have long range order in a very different sense to the ...
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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 ...
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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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Is there a sound theoretical argument against inner-shell induced nuclear chain reactions?

There is a claim often made about cold fusion, that it is excluded theoretically. The main theoretical argument is that electronic energies are too low to overcome the Coulomb barrier, since d-d ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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7answers
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Optical equivalent of a superconductor

Is there some material state that can propagate light indefinitely without dissipation or absorption, like superconductors are able to transmit current indefinitely? If not, then the question is, why ...
14
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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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Literature on fractal properties of quasicrystals

At the seminar where the talk was about quasicrystals, I mentioned that some results on their properties remind the fractals. The person who gave the talk was not too fluent in a rigor mathematics ...
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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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Why are so many condensed matter phenomena so dependent upon impurities?

Why are so many condensed matter phenomena so sensitive to impurities? In fact, quite a number of them depend upon impurities for their very existence!
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trying to understand Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC)

I am a computer scientist interested in network theory. I have come across the Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC) because of its connections to complex networks. What I know about condensation is the ...
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How to understand the emergent special relativity in the superfluid?

The superfluid vacuum theory was proposed to understand some features of the vacuum (aether) from the emergence point of view. Although made up of non-relativistic atoms, the low-energy excitations of ...
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Phonons in non-crystalline media

Do sound waves in a gas consist of phonons? What about a glass? Or other non-crystalline materials such as quasicrystals? How does the lack of translational symmetry affect the quantization of the ...
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What are some predictions from string theory that say some crystalline materials “will end up in one of many lowest-energy ground states?”

I am referring to this recent "news feature" by Zeeya Merali from Nature magazine www.nature.com/uidfinder/10.1038/478302a. Here is the specific quote: "To make matters worse, some of the testable ...
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Is there a way to directly observe the spin texture of the surface states of topological insulators?

Is there a way to directly, here I means in real space, observe the interaction of the surface states of 3D topological insulators with defects (dopings and adatoms)? How to observe the spin texture ...
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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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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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Spontaneous Time Reversal Symmetry Breaking?

It is known that you can break P spontaneously--- look at any chiral molecule for an example. Spontaneous T breaking is harder for me to visualize. Is there a well known condensed matter system which ...
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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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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 ...
11
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1answer
972 views

Quantum dimension in topological entanglement entropy

In 2D the entanglement entropy of a simply connected region goes like \begin{align} S_L \to \alpha L - \gamma + \cdots, \end{align} where $\gamma$ is the topological entanglement entropy. $\gamma$ is ...
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Limitations in using FLEX as a DMFT solver

When using the fluctuating exchange approximation (FLEX) as a dynamical mean field theory (DMFT) solver, Kotliar, et al. (p. 898) suggest that it is only reliable for when the interaction strength, ...
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Is ultradense deuterium real?

I've found several articles discussing experimental evidence of a deuterium state of densities over $140 \textrm{ kg}/\textrm{cm}^3$: F. Winterberg. Ultradense Deuterium. arXiv. Shahriar Badiei, ...
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What does the term liquid mean in condensed matter physics?

In condensed matter physics, people always say quantum liquid or spin liquid. What does liquid mean?
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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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Why quantum hall effect has chiral edge state?

The most popular explaination may be the following: in magnetic field, electrons move in cycolotron orbits, such cycolotron orbits ensure electrons to move in one direction at the edge. That is why ...
10
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Is the liquid/solid line infinite?

Starting from the triple point, is the melting line between solid-phase and liquid-phase infinite? If not, why does it end? Because pressures are so high that classical inter-molecular interactions ...
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Has Chandra Varma explained cuprate superconductivity?

Chandra Varma is a theoretical physicist at University of California, Riverside. A couple years ago, he gave a talk at my institution purporting to explain superconductivity in the cuprates. It all ...
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1answer
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Consideration of static atomic displacements in electronic structure calculations

I am hoping to discuss some details of electronic structure calculations. I am not an expert on this topic, so please forgive any abuse of terminology. It is my understanding that first principles ...
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Phase transition water

The water-gas phase transition is said to be similar to the ferromagnetic-paramagnetic phase transition (same set of critical exponents = same universality class). In the former case the order ...
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What is known about some massive Gaussian models on a lattice?

Recently I started to play with some massive Gaussian models on a lattice. Motivation being that I work on massless models and want to understand the massive case because it seems easier to handle ...
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Quasi 1D insulators with strong spin-orbital interaction

We know that the spin-1 chain realizes the Haldane phase which is an example of symmetry protected topological (SPT) phases (ie short-range entangled phases with symmetry). The Haldane phase is ...
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How can rising bubbles shrink and disappear?

I was recently looking at a Wurlitzer juke box, and noticed something strange. It's decorated with liquid-filled tubes. Gas bubbles are injected at the bottoms of the tubes, and the bubbles naturally ...