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Topological defects in a double-mirror quadrupole insulator displace diverging charge

Isidora Araya Day, Anton R. Akhmerov, Dániel Varjas

SciPost Phys. Core 5, 053 (2022) · published 15 December 2022


We show that topological defects in quadrupole insulators do not host quantized fractional charges, contrary to what their Wannier representation indicates. In particular, we test the charge quantization hypothesis based on the Wannier representation of a disclination and a parametric defect. Since disclinations necessarily strain the lattice and parametric defects require closed curves in parameter space, both defects break four-fold rotation symmetry, even away from their origin. The Wannier representation of the defects is thus determined by local reflection symmetries. Contrary to the hypothesis, we find that the local charge density decays as $\sim 1/r^2$ with distance, leading to a diverging defect charge. Because topological defects are incompatible with four-fold rotation symmetry, we conclude that defect charge quantization is protected by sublattice symmetry, and not higher order topology.

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