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Geometry in Topological Quantum Matter and Beyond

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In the past few years we have witnessed a flurry of activity in the field of topological phases of matter. An outstanding theme in the field is the study of the interplay between geometry and topology of many-body wave functions, which has attracted the attention of condensed matter and high-energy physicists. In this talk, I will present the quantum field-theoretic descriptions of the fascinating novel phenomena emergent from intertwined geometry and topology, which are vividly exemplified by the geometric responses in fractional quantum Hall systems. For the strict topological limit, where only the global topology of space matters, the fractional quantum Hall systems are characterized by their universal properties such as fractional quantum Hall conductivity and a degeneracy on surfaces with the topology of a torus. Quite surprisingly, these topological fluids also couple to the geometry and have universal responses to the adiabatic deformations of the background geometry. These responses are given by a Wen-Zee term, Hall viscosity term, and gravitational Chern-Simons term. Through the field-theoretic approaches of the topological fluids, I will for the first time show how to derive all the universal geometric responses. To account for the coupling to the background geometry, I show that the concept of “flux attachment” must be modified in the curved space and use it to derive the responses from Chern-Simons theories for all the known fractional quantum Hall states. I also apply these results to the theory of the anisotropic quantum Hall systems, where the geometric responses play a central role in understanding their universal physics.