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Tuesday, February 5, 2019 at 12:20pm to 1:15pm
700 Clark Hall
Mathias Scheurer, Harvard
Faculty Search Candidate
Topology in correlated condensed matter systems
The classification of different phases of matter is a crucial cornerstone of condensed matter physics. In the traditional theory of phase transitions, pioneered by Landau, different phases are characterized by the symmetries they break. Many phase transitions fit into this paradigm, such as the ferromagnet-paramagnet transition. However, more recent developments have shown that many body systems can exhibit phase transitions between two states that share the same symmetries, but can be sharply distinguished by their “topological” properties. Nowadays, topology has become an integral part of many research directions of condensed matter physics. This talk will begin with an elementary introduction to the key concepts of topology and their relevance to many body physics. We will then discuss specific applications to correlated condensed matter systems: for instance, we will consider the interaction-induced formation of topological superconductivity in spin-orbit-coupled systems and uncover a relation between the mechanism driving the superconducting instability and the topology of the resulting state. Furthermore, we will see that many properties of one of the most mysterious phases of the cuprate high-temperature superconductors, the pseudogap phase, are naturally understood in terms of a gauge theory that exhibits topological order. We will also discuss how this theory allows to intertwine topological order with the discrete broken symmetries found in the cuprate superconductors.
Light refreshments will be served before the seminar.