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      Fragile topological phases in interacting systems

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          Abstract

          Topological phases of matter are defined by their nontrivial patterns of ground-state quantum entanglement, which is irremovable so long as the excitation gap and the protecting symmetries, if any, are maintained. Recent studies on noninteracting electrons in crystals have unveiled a peculiar variety of topological phases, which harbors nontrivial entanglement that can be dissolved simply by the the addition of entanglement-free, but charged, degrees of freedom. Such topological phases have a weaker sense of robustness than their conventional counterparts, and are therefore dubbed "fragile topological phases." In this work, we show that fragile topology is a general concept prevailing beyond systems of noninteracting electrons. We identify the key ingredients for fragile topological phases, and demonstrate their existence not only in interacting systems of fermions, but also bosons.

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          Classification of topological insulators and superconductors in three spatial dimensions

          We systematically study topological phases of insulators and superconductors (SCs) in 3D. We find that there exist 3D topologically non-trivial insulators or SCs in 5 out of 10 symmetry classes introduced by Altland and Zirnbauer within the context of random matrix theory. One of these is the recently introduced Z_2 topological insulator in the symplectic symmetry class. We show there exist precisely 4 more topological insulators. For these systems, all of which are time-reversal (TR) invariant in 3D, the space of insulating ground states satisfying certain discrete symmetry properties is partitioned into topological sectors that are separated by quantum phase transitions. 3 of the above 5 topologically non-trivial phases can be realized as TR invariant SCs, and in these the different topological sectors are characterized by an integer winding number defined in momentum space. When such 3D topological insulators are terminated by a 2D surface, they support a number (which may be an arbitrary non-vanishing even number for singlet pairing) of Dirac fermion (Majorana fermion when spin rotation symmetry is completely broken) surface modes which remain gapless under arbitrary perturbations that preserve the characteristic discrete symmetries. In particular, these surface modes completely evade Anderson localization. These topological phases can be thought of as 3D analogues of well known paired topological phases in 2D such as the chiral p-wave SC. In the corresponding topologically non-trivial and topologically trivial 3D phases, the wavefunctions exhibit markedly distinct behavior. When an electromagnetic U(1) gauge field and fluctuations of the gap functions are included in the dynamics, the SC phases with non-vanishing winding number possess non-trivial topological ground state degeneracies.
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            Topological insulators and superconductors: ten-fold way and dimensional hierarchy

            It has recently been shown that in every spatial dimension there exist precisely five distinct classes of topological insulators or superconductors. Within a given class, the different topological sectors can be distinguished, depending on the case, by a Z or a Z_2 topological invariant. This is an exhaustive classification. Here we construct representatives of topological insulators and superconductors for all five classes and in arbitrary spatial dimension d, in terms of Dirac Hamiltonians. Using these representatives we demonstrate how topological insulators (superconductors) in different dimensions and different classes can be related via dimensional reduction by compactifying one or more spatial dimensions (in Kaluza-Klein-like fashion). For Z-topological insulators (superconductors) this proceeds by descending by one dimension at a time into a different class. The Z_2-topological insulators (superconductors), on the other hand, are shown to be lower-dimensional descendants of parent Z-topological insulators in the same class, from which they inherit their topological properties. The 8-fold periodicity in dimension d that exists for topological insulators (superconductors) with Hamiltonians satisfying at least one reality condition (arising from time-reversal or charge-conjugation/particle-hole symmetries) is a reflection of the 8-fold periodicity of the spinor representations of the orthogonal groups SO(N) (a form of Bott periodicity). We derive a relation between the topological invariant that characterizes topological insulators/superconductors with chiral symmetry and the Chern-Simons invariant: it relates the invariant to the electric polarization (d=1), or to the magnetoelectric polarizability (d=3). Finally, we discuss topological field theories describing the space time theory of linear responses, and study how the presence of inversion symmetry modifies the classification.
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              Classification of interacting electronic topological insulators in three dimensions

              A fundamental open problem in condensed matter physics is how the dichotomy between conventional and topological band insulators is modified in the presence of strong electron interactions. We show that there are 6 new electronic topological insulators that have no non-interacting counterpart. Combined with the previously known band-insulators, these produce a total of 8 topologically distinct phases. Two of the new topological insulators have a simple physical description as Mott insulators in which the electron spins form spin analogs of the familiar topological band-insulator. The remaining are obtained as combinations of these two `topological paramagnets' and the topological band insulator. We prove that these 8 phases form a complete list of all possible interacting topological insulators, and are classified by a Z_2^3 group-structure. Experimental signatures are also discussed for these phases.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                06 September 2018
                Article
                1809.02128

                http://arxiv.org/licenses/nonexclusive-distrib/1.0/

                Custom metadata
                12 pages. Comments welcome
                cond-mat.str-el cond-mat.mes-hall cond-mat.mtrl-sci

                Condensed matter, Nanophysics

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