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1) Why is it called a symmetry if it is not a symmetry? what about Noether theorem in this case? and the gauge groups U(1)...etc? Gauge symmetry is a local symmetry in CLASSICAL field theory. This may be why people call gauge symmetry a local symmetry. But we know that our world is quantum. In quantum systems, gauge symmetry is not a symmetry, in the sense ...


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I put an extra answer, since I believe the first Jeremy's question is still unanswered. The previous answer is clear, pedagogical and correct. The discussion is really interesting, too. Thanks to Nanophys and Heidar for this. To answer directly Jeremy's question: you can ALWAYS construct a representation of your favorite fermions modes in term of Majorana's ...


23

The 'topological' in topological order means 'robust against ANY local perturbations'. According to such a definition, topological insulator is not 'topological' since its properties are not robust against ANY local perturbations, such as the perturbation that break the U(1) and time reversal symmetry. So a more proper name for topological insulator is 'U(1)...


22

Local quasiparticle excitations and topological quasiparticle excitations To understand and classify anyonic quasiparticles in topologically ordered states, such as FQH states, it is important to understand the notions of local quasiparticle excitations and topological quasiparticle excitations. First let us define the notion of ``particle-like'' ...


21

Majorana fermions are fermions which are their own antiparticles. As a result, they only have half the degrees of freedom as a regular Dirac electron. One physical interpretation, at least for Majorana fermion quasiparticles in condensed matter systems, is that they can be thought of a superposition of an electron and hole state. Only Majorana bound states ...


20

The realization of non-Abelian statistics in condensed matter systems was first proposed in the following two papers. G. Moore and N. Read, Nucl. Phys. B 360, 362 (1991) X.-G. Wen, Phys. Rev. Lett. 66, 802 (1991) Zhenghan Wang and I wrote a review article to explain FQH state (include non-Abelian FQH state) to mathematicians, which include the explanations ...


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This is a heavy question, that contains many topics in it that are worthy of their own questions, so I'm not going to give a complete answer. I am relying mainly on this excellent review paper by Nayak, Simon, Stern, Freedman and Das Sarma. The first part can be skipped by anyone already familiar with anyons. Abelian and non-Abelian anyons Anyons are ...


19

The Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless (BKT) scenario is one of the most beautiful transitions that is ubiquitous in 2d systems (though it can also occur in higher dimensions for particular kinds of models) that surprisingly requires non-perturbative effects (i.e. topological defects) to be realized. To understand all the fuss (and the nobel) around this ...


18

The distinction between "ordinary" and topological charges comes from the fact that the conservation of the ordinary charges is a consequence of the Noether's theorem, i.e., when the system under consideration possesses a symmetry, then according to the Noether's theorem, the corresponding charge is conserved. Topological charges, on the other hand, do ...


18

In short, what makes a superconductor topological is the nontrivial band structure of the Bogoliubov quasiparticles. Generally one can classify non-interacting gapped fermion systems based on single-particle band structure (as well as symmetry), and the result is the so-called ten-fold way/periodic table. The topological superconductivity mentioned in the ...


17

As you have mentioned, topological insulators (TI) are "topological" because they can not be smoothly connected to trivial band insulators without closing the band gap (and without breaking certain symmetry). Simply generalize this to the many-body case, we may say that the topologically ordered states are called "topological" because they can not be ...


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This was originally a comment on Joe's excellent answer, but it got too long. I'm trying to address the question of what φ ⊕ φ means. Suppose you look at the equation φ ⊗ φ ⊗ φ = φ ⊕ φ ⊕ I. What this says is that when you fuse three φ particles, there are two different ways of producing φ, and one way of producing I. The two ways are (a) and (b) ...


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Yes, a topological defect is a discontinuity that cannot be removed. Let me explain by giving an example similar to a liquid crystal. Fish in a pond I have a two-dimensional pond and I would like to fill it with fish. These fish are longer than they are wide, so when they are densely packed in the pool, they like to point in the same direction as their ...


15

Let me first answer your question "is it wrong to consider topological superconductors (such as certain p-wave superconductors) as SPT states? Aren't they actually SET states?" (1) Topological superconductors, by definition, are free fermion states that have time-reversal symmetry but no U(1) symmetry (just like topological insulator always have time-...


14

Recently, it is realized that quantum many-body states can be divided into short-range entangled states and long-range entangled states. The quantum phases with long-range entanglements correspond to topologically ordered phases, which, in two spatial dimensions, can be described by tensor category theory (see cond-mat/0404617). Topological order in higher ...


14

This is a very a general question, I think I could provide some insight but it will certainly need to be elaborated on by someone with this specific expertise. The $\mathbb{Z}_k$ para fermions arise in several statistical mechanics models. They are both interesting and subtle because their exchange statistics depend on their positions (in one-dimension). It ...


13

In a "fully defined" TQFT the spaces of states are necessarily finite dimensional. This follows simply from the fact that the correlators assigned to the cap and the cup cobordism (the "2-point functions") equip the space of states with the structure of a dualizable object in the corresponding monoidal category of vector spaces, which are precisely the ...


13

Goals one wants to achieve with those two theories are similar. We know that superstring theory is a potential theory of everything. One may want to ask what is the difference between the string-net-liquid approach and the superstring approach? Our understanding of the superstring theory has been evolving. According to an early understanding of the ...


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Here is an explanation that's purely quantum. A charged quantum particle in a magnetic field is subject to Landau quantization. Taking the magnetic field in the $z$ direction, we can choose the Landau gauge for the vector potential: $$ \mathbf{A} = B x \hat{y} ~~ \Rightarrow ~~ \mathbf{B} = B \hat{z}. $$ The Hamiltonian in the coordinates $xy$, ignoring (for ...


13

There are different categories of topological superconductors. I’m guessing that you are referring to the time-reversal invariant (class DIII) ones, in 2D or 3D. Yes, it is possible to distinguish the surface/edge states of 3D/2D topological superconductors from the bulk. I'm not talking about designing some intricate experimental technique to separate out ...


13

A quote from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symmetry_protected_topological_order : The SPT order (for both frermionic and bosonic systems) has the following defining properties: Distinct SPT states with a given symmetry cannot be smoothly deformed into each other without a phase transition, if the deformation preserves the symmetry. However, they all can be ...


12

In theories with spontaneous symmetry breaking, the phase transition can usually be characterized by a local order parameter $\Delta(x)$, which is not invariant under the relevant symmetry group $G$ of the Hamiltonian. The expectation value of this field has to be zero outside the ordered phase $\langle\Delta(x)\rangle = 0$, but non-zero in the phase $\...


12

The "topological" in "topological order" and the "topological" in "topological insulator" have different meanings. The 'topological' in topological order means 'robust against ANY local perturbations'. The "topological" in "topological insulator" means 'robust against some local perturbations that respect certain symmetry'. In fact the properties of ...


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The answer is Yes. See A physical understanding of fractionalization http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0302201 Quantum order from string-net condensations and origin of light and massless fermions, Xiao-Gang Wen; Spin-1/2 and Fermi statistics from qubits http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0507118 Quantum ether: photons and electrons from a rotor model, ...


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Here are some comments on the points: 1) I(nteger)QHE occurs due to the presence of Landau levels Yes 2) IQHE is an embodiment of topological order and the states are characterized by the Chern number that tells us about topologically inequivalent Hamiltonians defined on the Brillouin zone IQHE is an example of topological order, although ...


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There is a very nice set of lecture notes on the subject by Jiannis Pachos here. (see specifically section 1.3 on fusion and braiding properties). As regards the first question, the tensor product and direct product are basically different ways of divvying up the Hilbert space (see John Baez's illuminating discussion here). When you have a relation like $\...


11

All the non-trivalent graph can be obtain from the trivalent graph by combining some vertices together. For example, the Z2 string-net model is defined on a honeycomb lattice, which is a trivalent lattice. But if you combine the two sites in each unit cell together, and consider the whole unit cell as your "site", then the honeycomb lattice simply becomes ...


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The simple objects in the braided fusion category correspond to the possible particle types. In the simplest important example there are two particle types 1 and $\phi$. (Well, 1 is the vacuum so it's a slightly odd sort of particle type.) The non-simple objects don't have any intrinsic physical meaning, $\phi \oplus \phi$ just means any system "that can ...


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After stating the solution, I'll try to give some physical insights to the best of my knowledge and some more references. The dimension of the required state space is given by the Verlinde formula, having the following form for a general compact semisimple Lie group $G$ on a Riemann surface with genus $g$ corresponding to the level $k$: $$ \mathrm{dim} V_{...


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