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Monday, November 20, 2023
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
East Bridge 114

Quantum Matter Seminar

Solvable models for 2+1D quantum critical points with a non-local area law of entanglement
Thomas Scaffidi, Professor, Department of Physics, UC Irvine,

For gapped topological systems, there exist several approaches to construct higher-dimensional models by combining lower-dimensional ones (e.g. coupled wires or decorated domain wall constructions). In this talk, we will propose a generalization of this approach to gapless systems separating distinct topological phases. We construct a class of solvable models for 2+1D quantum critical points by attaching 1+1D conformal field theories (CFTs) to fluctuating domain walls forming a "loop soup". The macroscopic degeneracy between loop configurations is split by the Casimir energy of each decorating CFT, which is usually negative and thus favors a short loop phase with a finite gap. However, we found a set of 1D CFT Hamiltonians for which the Casimir energy is effectively positive, making it favorable for domain walls to coalesce into a single "snake" which is macroscopically long and thus hosts a CFT with a vanishing gap. The snake configurations are geometrical objects also known as fully-packed self-avoiding walks or Hamiltonian walks which are described by an O(n=0) loop ensemble with a non-unitary 2+0D CFT description. Combining this description with the 1+1D decoration CFT, we obtain a 2+1D theory with unusual critical exponents and entanglement properties. Regarding the latter, we show that the log contributions from the decoration CFTs conspire with the spatial distribution of loops crossing the entanglement cut to generate a "non-local area law".