As condensed matter theorists, we always try to seek new quantum phases of matter that are not possible in classical physics. In this dissertation, I discussed a new type of quantum disordered phases known as symmetry protected topological (SPT) phases, which is a generalization of the topological insulator to interacting fermion or boson/spin systems with various symmetries. In the first part of this thesis, a nonlinear σ-model (NLσM) field theory is introduced as a powerful tool to describe the properties of the bosonic SPT phases. Secondly, we want to answer the question of how to detect the SPT states from their bulk properties. Introducing gauge fields was shown to be an effective theoretical tool to study bulk properties of SPT phases. Furthermore, we investigated anyon and loop statistics of gauged SPT states in the framework of NLσM. We also designed a new numerical probe, so-called strange correlator, which can distinguish SPT states from trivial states based on the bulk wavefunction on a closed manifold. Thirdly, several aspects of surface states of SPT phases are discussed. 1. A surface phase transition of 3d topological insulator is studied through a new controlled expansion method with the help of the recently discovered fermion-vortex duality. 2. A new strongly interacting conformal field theory on the surface of 3d bosonic SPT state is also found by a controlled renormalization group calculation. 3. we made a connection between the surface of SPT phase and the Lieb-Schultz-Mattis (LSM) theorem, which enables us to identity the SU(N) and SO(N) spin systems that permit a featureless ground state in 2d and 3d. Finally, we proposed the first experimental realization of bosonic SPT state in dimension higher than 1. We established a general relation between interacting multi-layer fermionic SPTs and bosonic SPT with the same symmetry, which motivates a proposal of realizing 2+1d bosonic SPT phase in bilayer graphene system.

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## Scholarly Works (5 results)

Exotic quantum systems -- those with macroscopic quantum behavior with no classical analogue -- have been a mainstay of condensed matter theory since the discovery of the quantum Hall effect. Since then, several families of related systems have been uncovered. Some, such as topological insulators, were predicted first and found experimentally later. Others are more elusive, like strongly correlated bosonic symmetry protected topological phases in high dimension, of which concrete evidence is still lacking. In this dissertation, we study several examples of exotic quantum systems. For SPT phases, we present a physically motivated classification scheme for interacting bosons and a bulk signature independent of boundary. We then construct a new, beyond Landau-Ginzburg second-order phase transition between two ordered phases of the Heisenberg magnet on the triangular lattice. Finally, we investigate an infinite family of spin liquid states, and conjecture on their connection to black holes.

In this thesis we will study recent examples of exotic, topological, and many body localized quantum phase transitions. In Chapter 2 we study the quantum phase transition between the Z_2 spin liquid and valence bond solid (VBS) orders on a triangular lattice. We find a possible nematic Z_2 spin liquid intermediate phase and predict a continuous 3d XY* transition to the neighboring columnar and resonating-plaquette VBS phases. In Chapter 3 we demonstrate that an extended Kane-Mele Hubbard model on a bilayer honeycomb lattice has two novel quantum phase transitions. The first is a quantum phase transition between the weakly interacting gapless Dirac fermion phase and a strongly interacting fully gapped and symmetric trivial phase, which cannot be described by the standard Gross-Neveu model. The second is a quantum critical point between a quantum spin Hall insulator with spin S^z conservation and the previously mentioned strongly interacting fully gapped phase. We argue that the first quantum phase transition is related to the Z_16 classification of the topological superconductor ^3He-B phase with interactions, while the second quantum phase transition is a topological phase transition described by a bosonic O(4) nonlinear sigma model field theory with a Theta-term. In Chapter 4 we propose that if the highest and lowest energy eigenstates of a Hamiltonian belong to different SPT phases, then this Hamiltonian can't be fully many body localized. In Chapter 5 we study the disordered XYZ spin chain and its marginally many body localized critical lines, which we find to be characterized by an effective central charge c'=ln2 and continuously varying critical exponents.

Despite great theoretical effort since the conception of manybody physics to elucidate

the nature of interacting fermions — in a precise and quantitative manner — the phase

diagrams of many correlated electronic systems remain impenetrable to even the most

rigorous and skilled approaches. In this manuscript I detail the new techniques, mod-

els, and solid-state materials that lie along the contemporary boundaries of scientific

understanding in strongly correlated materials. In particular, I discuss the fundamental

obstacles of manybody electronic systems and discuss how these issues are exemplified

by the various results reviewed. The work presented in Chapters 2-4 are representative

of my time at UCSB, and reflect the collaborations and publications of my Ph.D.