Higher Rank Quantum Spin Liquids: From Fractons to Mach’s Principle

Event Dates: 

Friday, September 8, 2017 - 10:30am

CTQM Seminar Type: 

  • CTQM Discussion

Seminar Location: 

  • Duane Physics Room G126

Speaker Name(s): 

Michael Pretko

Speaker Affiliation(s): 

University of Colorado at Boulder

Abstract, Event Details: 

Quantum spin liquids are phases of matter exhibiting a variety of interesting properties, such as fractionalization and long-range quantum entanglement.  These exotic phases possess a natural description in the language of gauge theory.  While most spin liquids studied to date have been described by familiar vector gauge fields, there exists a broader class of stable spin liquid phases described by higher rank tensor gauge fields.  In this talk, I will discuss the physics of three-dimensional spin liquids described by symmetric tensor gauge theories.  Such theories are notable for their “subdimensional” gauge charges, which are forced to exist in lower-dimensional subspaces instead of propagating freely in three-dimensional space.  In some cases, the charges will be fully immobile, in a manifestation of the “fracton” phenomenon.  I will review the basic physics of subdimensional particles and their coupling to tensor gauge fields.  As an illustrative example, I will discuss rank 2 spin liquids which exhibit the basic properties of emergent gravity.  In particular, I will discuss how the fracton phenomenon can be understood as a direct consequence of Mach’s principle.