Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Michael Hermele

Second Advisor

Leo Radzihovsky

Third Advisor

Rahul Nandkishore

Fourth Advisor

Graeme Smith

Fifth Advisor

Sandeep Sharma

Abstract

Strongly correlated many-body systems provide a platform for novel phases of matter where constituent particles organize themselves in a variety of ways. At low temperature, these particles interact quantum mechanically and generate entanglement building up exotic quantum phases, such as topologcial order, where there can be emergent excitations which cannot be created locally. Such excitations, if gapped, are also called topological excitations.

Fracton is one of such gapped point-like topological excitation in three dimensional system. Different from conventional topological excitation, it is immobile and was firstly discovered in exact solvable models exhibiting fracton topological order. This new order has sub-extensive topological ground-state degeneracy and generically also possesses other mobile excitations restricted to move in sub-dimensional spaces. Also, it has been noticed that the charges of symmetric-tensor U(1) gauge theories can be fractons. Its immobility is due to the existence of multiple conservation laws.

In this thesis, I will present the relation among the gapped fracton topological order, gapless fracton phase described by U(1) symmetric tensor gauge theories, and ordinary topological ordered phases. Particularly, the fracton topological order exhibited in an exact solvable model called X- cube model can be constructed by coupling toric code layers. The mechanism leads to fracton topological orders is dubbed “p-string condensation” or “p-membrane condensation,” in which strings or membranes built up from particle excitations from layers of topological orders condense. This allows the fusion properties, braiding statistics, and ground-state degeneracy of the resulting fracton order to be easily understood in terms of more familiar degrees of freedom. And the fracton topological order in the X-cube model can also be obtained from a particular rank-2 symmetric tensor gauge theory called scalar charge theory by a partial confinement transition followed by Higgs mechanism removing the gapless photon modes.

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