Faculté des sciences

Gauge theory of topological phases of matter

Fröhlich, Jürg ; Werner, Philipp

In: EPL (Europhysics Letters), 2013, vol. 101, no. 4, p. 47007

We study the response of quantum many-body systems to coupling some of their degrees of freedom to external gauge fields. This serves to understand the current Green functions and transport properties of interacting many-body systems. Our analysis leads to a "gauge theory of states of matter" complementary to the well-known Landau theory of order parameters. We illustrate the power of our... Plus

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    Summary
    We study the response of quantum many-body systems to coupling some of their degrees of freedom to external gauge fields. This serves to understand the current Green functions and transport properties of interacting many-body systems. Our analysis leads to a "gauge theory of states of matter" complementary to the well-known Landau theory of order parameters. We illustrate the power of our approach by deriving and interpreting the gauge-invariant effective actions of (topological) superconductors, 2D electron gases exhibiting the quantized Hall- and spin-Hall effect, 3D topological insulators, as well as axion electrodynamics. We also use the theory to elucidate the structure of surface modes in these systems.