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Topological Frustration can modify the nature of a Quantum Phase Transition

by Vanja Marić, Gianpaolo Torre, Fabio Franchini, Salvatore Marco Giampaolo

Submission summary

As Contributors: Fabio Franchini · Salvatore Marco Giampaolo · Vanja Marić
Arxiv Link: (pdf)
Date submitted: 2021-10-16 14:11
Submitted by: Franchini, Fabio
Submitted to: SciPost Physics
Academic field: Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics - Theory
  • Quantum Physics
  • Statistical and Soft Matter Physics
Approach: Theoretical


Ginzburg-Landau theory of continuous phase transitions implicitly assumes that microscopic changes are negligible in determining the thermodynamic properties of the system. In this work we provide an example that clearly contrasts with this assumption. We show that topological frustration can change the nature of a second order quantum phase transition separating two different ordered phases. Even more remarkably, frustration is triggered simply by a suitable choice of boundary conditions in a 1D chain. While with every other BC each of two phases is characterized by its own local order parameter, with frustration no local order can survive. We construct string order parameters to distinguish the two phases, but, having proved that topological frustration is capable of altering the nature of a system's phase transition, our results pose a clear challenge to the current understanding of phase transitions in complex quantum systems.

Current status:
Editor-in-charge assigned

Author comments upon resubmission

We thank the editor and the referees for their work and positive assessment of our manuscript.
Both reports appreciated our work and its results and the only request, in both of them, was for some general arguments to better understand the generality of our findings.
We apologize it took us a long time to answer this inquiry and provide a new version of the manuscript, but this question motivated us for a more detailed study of the content of the "companion more mathematical paper". We have now updated substantially the analysis we performed in the latter work and this enabled us to better answer the referee's request. We have added a couple of paragraphs to the first version of the manuscript explaining the general (qualitative) picture.
We think that with these changes our work should be suitable for acceptance and publication.

List of changes

- The first paragraph in the first column of page 2 contains a new explanation of the qualitative picture underlying our results;
- We added a new sentence at the end of the first Conclusion paragraph ending at the beginning of page 5;

Reports on this Submission

Anonymous Report 2 on 2021-11-26 (Invited Report)


All questions have been convincingly addressed by the authors and I hence recommend the publication of the paper.

  • validity: top
  • significance: high
  • originality: high
  • clarity: top
  • formatting: excellent
  • grammar: perfect

Anonymous Report 1 on 2021-10-25 (Invited Report)


The authors have addressed the comments included in my first report and modified the manuscript accordingly. I recommend publication of this manuscript.

  • validity: -
  • significance: -
  • originality: -
  • clarity: -
  • formatting: -
  • grammar: -

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