SciPost Phys. 15, 001 (2023) ·
published 6 July 2023

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2+1d topological phases are well characterized by the fusion rules and braiding/exchange statistics of fractional point excitations. In 4+1d, some topological phases contain only fractional loop excitations. What kind of loop statistics exist? We study the 4+1d gauge theory with 2form $\mathbb{Z}_2$ gauge field (the looponly toric code) and find that while braiding statistics between two different types of loops can be nontrivial, the self "exchange" statistics are all trivial. In particular, we show that the electric, magnetic, and dyonic loop excitations in the 4+1d toric code are not distinguished by their selfstatistics. They tunnel into each other across 3+1d invertible domain walls which in turn give explicit unitary circuits that map the loop excitations into each other. The SL(2,$\mathbb{Z}_2$) symmetry that permutes the loops, however, cannot be consistently gauged and we discuss the associated obstruction in the process. Moreover, we discuss a gapless boundary condition dubbed the "fractional Maxwell theory" and show how it can be Higgsed into gapped boundary conditions. We also discuss the generalization of these results from the $\mathbb{Z}_2$ gauge group to $\mathbb{Z}_N$.
SciPost Phys. 11, 033 (2021) ·
published 18 August 2021

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We investigate the behavior of higherform symmetries at various quantum phase transitions. We consider discrete 1form symmetries, which can be either part of the generalized concept ``categorical symmetry" (labelled as $\tilde{Z}_N^{(1)}$) introduced recently, or an explicit $Z_N^{(1)}$ 1form symmetry. We demonstrate that for many quantum phase transitions involving a $Z_N^{(1)}$ or $\tilde{Z}_N^{(1)}$ symmetry, the following expectation value $ \langle \left( \log O_\mathcal{C} \right)^2 \rangle$ takes the form $\langle \left( \log O_\mathcal{C} \right)^2 \rangle \sim  \frac{A}{\epsilon} P+ b \log P $, where $O_\mathcal{C} $ is an operator defined associated with loop $\mathcal{C} $ (or its interior $\mathcal{A} $), which reduces to the Wilson loop operator for cases with an explicit $Z_N^{(1)}$ 1form symmetry. $P$ is the perimeter of $\mathcal{C} $, and the $b \log P$ term arises from the sharp corners of the loop $\mathcal{C} $, which is consistent with recent numerics on a particular example. $b$ is a universal microscopicindependent number, which in $(2+1)d$ is related to the universal conductivity at the quantum phase transition. $b$ can be computed exactly for certain transitions using the dualities between $(2+1)d$ conformal field theories developed in recent years. We also compute the ``strange correlator" of $O_\mathcal{C} $: $S_{\mathcal{C} } = \langle 0  O_\mathcal{C}  1 \rangle / \langle 0  1 \rangle$ where $0\rangle$ and $1\rangle$ are manybody states with different topological nature.
SciPost Phys. 10, 033 (2021) ·
published 12 February 2021

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One dimensional $(1d)$ interacting systems with local Hamiltonians can be studied with various welldeveloped analytical methods. Recently novel $1d$ physics was found numerically in systems with either spatially nonlocal interactions, or at the $1d$ boundary of $2d$ quantum critical points, and the critical fluctuation in the bulk also yields effective nonlocal interactions at the boundary. This work studies the edge states at the $1d$ boundary of $2d$ strongly interacting symmetry protected topological (SPT) states, when the bulk is driven to a disorderorder phase transition. We will take the $2d$ AffleckKennedyLiebTasaki (AKLT) state as an example, which is a SPT state protected by the $SO(3)$ spin symmetry and spatial translation. We found that the original $(1+1)d$ boundary conformal field theory of the AKLT state is unstable due to coupling to the boundary avatar of the bulk quantum critical fluctuations. When the bulk is fixed at the quantum critical point, within the accuracy of our expansion method, we find that by tuning one parameter at the boundary, there is a generic direct transition between the long range antiferromagnetic N\'{e}el order and the valence bond solid (VBS) order. This transition is very similar to the NéelVBS transition recently found in numerical simulation of a spin1/2 chain with nonlocal spatial interactions. Connections between our analytical studies and recent numerical results concerning the edge states of the $2d$ AKLTlike state at a bulk quantum phase transition will also be discussed.
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