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Title:Topological phases, non-equilibrium dynamics and parallels of black hole phenomena in condensed matter
Author(s):Hegde, Suraj Shankaranarayana
Director of Research:Vishveshwara, Smitha
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Hughes, Taylor
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Van Harlingen, Dale; Faulkner, Tom
Department / Program:Physics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Topological phases, Majorana modes, Quantum Hall effect, Black holes, Hawking-Unruh effect.
Abstract:This dissertation deals with two broad topics - Majorana modes in Kitaev chain and parallels of black hole phenomena in the quantum Hall effect. Majorana modes in topological superconductors are of fundamental importance as realizations of real solutions to the Dirac equation and for their anyonic exchange statistics. They are realised as zero energy edge modes in one-dimensional topological superconductors, modeled by the Kitaev chain Hamiltonian. Here an extensive study is made on the wavefunction features of these Majorana modes. It is shown that the Majorana wavefunction has two distinct features- a decaying envelope and underlying oscillations. The latter becomes important when one considers the coupling between the Majorana modes in a finite-sized chain. The coupled Majorana modes form a non-local Dirac fermionic state which determines the ground state fermion parity. The dependance of the fermion parity on the parameters of the system is purely determined by the oscillatory part of the Majorana wavefunctions. Using transfer matrix method, one can uncover a new boundary in the phase diagram, termed as `circle of oscillations', across which the oscillations in the wavefunction and the ground-state fermionic parity cease to exist. This is closely related to the circle that appears in the context of transverse field XY spin chain, within which the spin-spin correlations have oscillations. For a finite sized system, the circle is further split into mutliple ellipses called `parity sectors'. The parity oscillations have a scaling behaviour i.e oscillations for different superconducting gaps can be scaled to collapse to a single plot. Making use of results from random matrix theory for class D systems, one can also predict the robustness of certain features of fermion parity switches in the presence of disorder and comment on the critical properties of the MBS wavefunctions and level crossings near zero energy. These results could provide directions for making measurements on zero-bias conductance oscillations and the parameter range of operations for robust parity switches in realistic disordered system. On the front of non-equilibrium dynamics, the effect of Majorana modes on the dynamical evolution of the ground state under time variation of a Hamiltonian parameter is studied. The key result is the failure of the ground state to evolve into opposite parity sectors under the dynamical tuning of the system within the topological phase. This dramatic lack of adiabaticity is termed as ‘parity blocking’. A real-space time-dependent formalism is also developed using Pfaffian correlations, where simple momentum space methods fail. This formalism can be used for calculating the non-equilibrium quantities, such as adiabatic fidelity and the residual energy in a system with open boundaries. The consideration of Majorana modes in non-equilibrium dynamics lead to deviation from Kibble-Zurek physics and non-analyticities in adiabatic fidelity even within the topological phase. The second part of the thesis deals with uncovering structural parallels of black hole phenomena such as the Hawking-Unruh effect and quasinormal modes in quantum Hall systems. The Hawking-Unruh effect is the emergence of a thermal state when a vacuum of a quantum field theory on a given spacetime is restricted to a submanifold bounded by an event horizon. The thermal state manifests as Hawking radiation in the context of a black hole spacetime with an event horizon. The Unruh effect is a simpler example where a family of accelerating observers in Minkowski spacetime are confined by the lightcone structure and the Minkowski vacuum looks as a thermal state to them. The key element in understanding the Hawking-Unruh effect is the Rindler Hamiltonian or the boost. The boost acts as the generator of time translation for the quantum states in the Rindler wedge giving rise to thermality. In this thesis it is shown that due to an exact isomorphism between the Lorentz algebra in Minkowksi spacetime and the algebra of area preserving transformations in the lowest Landau level of quantum hall effect, an applied saddle potential acts as an equivalent to the Rindler Hamiltonian giving rise to a parallel of Hawking-Unurh effect. In the lowest Landau level, the saddle potential is reduced to the problem of scattering off an inverted harmonic oscillator(IHO) and the tunneling probability assumes the form of a thermal distribution. The IHO also has scattering resonances which are poles of the scattering matrix in the complex energy plane. The scattering resonances are states with time-decaying behavior and have purely incoming/outgoing probability current. These states are identified as quasinormal modes analogous to those occurring the scattering off an effective potential in black hole spacetimes. The quasinormal decay is an unexplored effect in quantum Hall systems and provides a new class of time-dependent probe of quantum Hall physics. The parallels between the relativistic symmetry generators and the potentials applied in the lowest Landau level also open up an avenue for studying Lorentz Kinematics and symplectic phase space dynamics in the lowest Landau level. These parallels open up new avenues of exploration in the quantum Hall effect.
Issue Date:2019-07-08
Rights Information:Copyright 2019 Suraj Shankaranarayana Hegde
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-11-26
Date Deposited:2019-08

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