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Quantum Field Theory of Many-Body SystemsFrom the Origin of Sound to an Origin of Light and Electrons$
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Xiao-Gang Wen

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199227259

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199227259.001.0001

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Topological and Quantum order—beyond Landau’s Theories

Topological and Quantum order—beyond Landau’s Theories

Quantum Field Theory of Many-Body Systems

Xiao-Gang Wen

Oxford University Press

According to the principle of emergence, the properties of material are mainly determined by how the atoms are organized in the material. Such organization is formally called order. The vast range of materials is a result of the rich variety of orders that atoms can have. For a long time, it has been believed that all orders are described as symmetry breaking. A comprehensive theory for phases and phase transitions is developed here based on the symmetry breaking picture. The existence of FQH states (and superconducting states) indicates that there are new states of matter that cannot be described as symmetry breaking. Completely new theory is needed to describe those new states of matter. This chapter outlines the theory of topological order and theories of quantum order for the new states of matter, such as FQH states. Many new concepts and new language, such as topology-dependent degeneracy, fractional statistics, edge states, etc, are introduced to describe new states of matter.

Keywords:   topological order, quantum order, symmetry breaking order, fractional charge, fractional statistics, Chern–Simons theory, topological degeneracy, topological field theory, phase transition

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