Superfluids as higher-form anomalies

Luca V. Delacrétaz, Diego M. Hofman, Grégoire Mathys

SciPost Phys. 8, 047 (2020) · published 26 March 2020


We recast superfluid hydrodynamics as the hydrodynamic theory of a system with an emergent anomalous higher-form symmetry. The higher-form charge counts the winding planes of the superfluid -- its constitutive relation replaces the Josephson relation of conventional superfluid hydrodynamics. This formulation puts all hydrodynamic equations on equal footing. The anomalous Ward identity can be used as an alternative starting point to prove the existence of a Goldstone boson, without reference to spontaneous symmetry breaking. This provides an alternative characterization of Landau phase transitions in terms of higher-form symmetries and their anomalies instead of how the symmetries are realized. This treatment is more general and, in particular, includes the case of BKT transitions. As an application of this formalism we construct the hydrodynamic theories of conventional (0-form) and 1-form superfluids.

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Anomalies Hydrodynamics Landau levels Superfluidity

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