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Geometry, topology, and response in condensed matter systems


Topological order provides a new paradigm to view phases of matter. Unlike conventional symmetry breaking order, these states are not distinguished by different patterns of symmetry breaking, instead by their intricate mathematical structure, topology. By the bulk-boundary correspondence, the nontrivial topology of the bulk results in robust gapless excitations on symmetry preserving surfaces. We utilize both of these views to study topological phases together with the analysis of their quantized physical responses to perturbations.

First we study the edge excitations of strongly interacting abelian fractional quantum Hall liquids on an infinite strip geometry. We use the infinite density matrix renormalization group method to numerically measure edge exponents in model systems, including subleading orders. Using analytic methods we derive a generalized Luttinger's theorem that relates momenta of edge excitations.

Next we consider topological crystalline insulators protected by space group symmetry. After reviewing the general formalism, we present results about the quantization of the magnetoelectric response protected by orientation-reversing space group symmetries. We construct and analyze insulating and superconducting tight-binding models with glide symmetry in three dimensions to illustrate the general result. Following this, we derive constraints on weak indices of three dimensional topological insulators imposed by space group symmetries. We focus on spin-orbit coupled insulators with and without time reversal invariance and consider both symmorphic and nonsymmorphic symmetries.

Finally, we calculate the response of metals and generalize the notion of the magnetoelectric effect to noninteracting gapless systems. We use semiclassical dynamics to study the magnetopiezoelectric effect, the current response to elastic strain in static external magnetic fields.

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