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Exotic quantum phases and phase transitions in correlated matter

Fabien Alet, Aleksandra M. Walczak, Matthew P. A. Fisher

par Webmaster - 12 avril 2006

We present a pedagogical overview of recent theoretical work on unconventional quantum phases and quantum phase transitions in condensed matter systems. Strong correlations between electrons can lead to a breakdown of two traditional paradigms of solid state physics : Landau’s theories of Fermi liquids and phase transitions. We discuss two resulting "exotic" states of matter : topological and critical spin liquids. These two quantum phases do not display any long-range order even at zero temperature. In each case, we show how a gauge theory description is useful to describe the new concepts of topological order, fractionalization and deconfinement of excitations which can be present in such spin liquids. We make brief connections, when possible, to experiments in which the corresponding physics can be probed. Finally, we review recent work on deconfined quantum critical points. The tone of these lecture notes is expository : focus is on gaining a physical picture and understanding, with technical details kept to a minimum.

Notes of the Lectures at the International Summer School on Fundamental Problems in Statistical Physics XI, September 2005, Leuven, Belgium

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