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Title:Applications of conformal field theories in topological phases of matter
Author(s):Han, Bo
Director of Research:Stone, Michael
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Hughes, Taylor
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Faulkner, Thomas; Cooper, Lance
Department / Program:Physics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):conformal field theory
topological phase
Abstract:This dissertation discusses some applications of conformal field theories (CFTs) in topological phases of matter. The first part is devoted to a discussion of coupled wire constructions of some novel quantum Hall systems. Through a theoretical coupled wire model, we construct strongly correlated electronic integer quantum Hall states with filling factor 16. The edge state is a bosonic chiral (E8)1 CFT, which is closely related to topological paramagnets in (3+1)d. As a distinguishing feature, these states support electric and thermal Hall transport violating the Wiedemann-Franz law. We further construct two descendant non-Abelian quantum Hall states at filling 8, each carrying bosonic chiral (G2)1 or (F4)1 edge theories, and hosting Fibonacci anyonic excitations in the bulk. Finally, we discover a new notion of particle-hole conjugation based on the E8 state that relates the G2 and F4 Fibonacci states, which is reminiscent of similar physics in half-filled Landau level. The second part is focused on the surface topological orders of 3D bulk topological systems. Symmetry protected and symmetry-enriched topological (SPT/SET) phases in three dimensions are quantum systems that support non-trivial two-dimensional surface states. These surface states develop finite excitation energy gaps when the relevant symmetries are broken. On the other hand, one-dimensional gapless modes can populate along interfaces that separate adjacent gapped surface domains with distinct symmetry-breaking orders. A surface strip pattern in general reduces the low-energy SPT/SET surface degrees of freedom onto a 2D array of gapless 1D channels. These channels can be coupled to one another by quasiparticle tunneling, and these inter-wire interactions collectively provide an effective description of the surface state. In this part, we study a general class of symmetry-preserving or breaking SPT/SET surface states that admit finite excitation energy gaps and Abelian topological orders via the coupled wire construction. In particular, we focus on the prototype Abelian surface topological orders that fall under the ADE classification of simply-laced Lie algebras. We also elaborate on the emergent symmetry and duality properties of the coupled wire models. The third part is to discuss the relation between the conformal boundary state and (2+1)d SPT phases. We propose a diagnostic tool for detecting nontrivial symmetry-protected topological (SPT) phases protected by a symmetry group G in 2 + 1 dimensions. Our method is based on directly studying the 1 + 1-dimensional anomalous edge conformal field theory (CFT) of SPT phases. We claim that if the CFT is the edge theory of an SPT phase, then there must be an obstruction to cutting it open. This obstruction manifests as the non-existence of boundary states in the CFT that preserves both the conformal symmetry and the global symmetry G. We discuss the relation between edgeability and gappability in the presence of G. We study several examples including time-reversal symmetric topological insulators, ZN symmetric bosonic SPT phases, and Z2 × Z2 symmetric topological superconductors.
Issue Date:2019-07-08
Rights Information:2019 by Bo Han. All rights reserved.
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-11-26
Date Deposited:2019-08

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