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Exposing the Global Landscape of Topological Quantum Matter



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PIRSA Number: 
17030090

Abstract

A central theme of modern condensed matter physics is the study of topological quantum matter enabled by quantum mechanics, which provides a further "topological" twist to the classical theory of ordered phases. These quantum-entangled phases of matter such as fractional quantum Hall phases, spin liquids, and some non-Fermi liquids, are typically strongly-correlated and thus cannot be studied within conventional perturbative approaches. Because of the spectacular emergent phenomena as well as their potential for realistic applications, there has been much recent interest in exploring the physics of these exotic phases. In this talk, I show that the powerful methods of quantum field theory, namely quantum anomaly and duality, can expose the global landscape in parameter space of these gapped and gapless topological quantum phases and lead to several novel insights on these phases. As a demonstration of this principle, we study clean fractional quantum Hall transitions, composite Fermi liquids, and the surface of fractional topological insulators. Despite long and storied histories, these three systems are at the frontier of our knowledge of two and three dimensional topological phases. I show that the non-perturbative approach for these systems, i.e., the duality, sheds some new light on these systems and allows us to resolve some longstanding puzzles, which have not been clear previously. Furthermore, it uncovers novel physics of these intrinsically strongly-correlated phases of matter.