Topological degeneracy

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In quantum many-body physics, topological degeneracy is a phenomenon in which the ground state of a gapped many-body Hamiltonian becomes degenerate in the limit of large system size such that the degeneracy cannot be lifted by any local perturbations. [1]



Topological degeneracy can be used to protect qubits which allows topological quantum computation. [2] It is believed that topological degeneracy implies topological order (or long-range entanglement [3] ) in the ground state. [4] Many-body states with topological degeneracy are described by topological quantum field theory at low energies.


Topological degeneracy was first introduced to physically define topological order. [5] In two-dimensional space, the topological degeneracy depends on the topology of space, and the topological degeneracy on high genus Riemann surfaces encode all information on the quantum dimensions and the fusion algebra of the quasiparticles. In particular, the topological degeneracy on torus is equal to the number of quasiparticles types.

The topological degeneracy also appears in the situation with topological defects (such as vortices, dislocations, holes in 2D sample, ends of a 1D sample, etc.), where the topological degeneracy depends on the number of defects. Braiding those topological defect leads to topologically protected non-Abelian geometric phase, which can be used to perform topologically protected quantum computation.

Topological degeneracy of topological order can be defined on a closed space or an open space with gapped boundaries or gapped domain walls, [6] including both Abelian topological orders [7] [8] and non-Abelian topological orders. [9] [10] The application of these types of systems for quantum computation has been proposed. [11] In certain generalized cases, one can also design the systems with topological interfaces enriched or extended by global or gauge symmetries. [12]

The topological degeneracy also appear in non-interacting fermion systems (such as p+ip superconductors [13] ) with trapped defects (such as vortices). In non-interacting fermion systems, there is only one type of topological degeneracy where number of the degenerate states is given by , where is the number of the defects (such as the number of vortices). Such topological degeneracy is referred as "Majorana zero-mode" on the defects. [14] [15] In contrast, there are many types of topological degeneracy for interacting systems. [16] [17] [18] A systematic description of topological degeneracy is given by tensor category (or monoidal category) theory.

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In physics, an anyon is a type of quasiparticle that occurs only in two-dimensional systems, with properties much less restricted than fermions and bosons. In general, the operation of exchanging two identical particles may cause a global phase shift but cannot affect observables. Anyons are generally classified as abelian or non-abelian. Abelian anyons have been detected and play a major role in the fractional quantum Hall effect. Non-abelian anyons have not been definitively detected, although this is an active area of research.

Topological order Type of order at absolute zero

In physics, topological order is a kind of order in the zero-temperature phase of matter. Macroscopically, topological order is defined and described by robust ground state degeneracy and quantized non-Abelian geometric phases of degenerate ground states. Microscopically, topological orders correspond to patterns of long-range quantum entanglement. States with different topological orders cannot change into each other without a phase transition.

A topological quantum computer is a theoretical quantum computer that employs two-dimensional quasiparticles called anyons, whose world lines pass around one another to form braids in a three-dimensional spacetime. These braids form the logic gates that make up the computer. The advantage of a quantum computer based on quantum braids over using trapped quantum particles is that the former is much more stable. Small, cumulative perturbations can cause quantum states to decohere and introduce errors in the computation, but such small perturbations do not change the braids' topological properties. This is like the effort required to cut a string and reattach the ends to form a different braid, as opposed to a ball bumping into a wall. Alexei Kitaev proposed topological quantum computation in 1997. While the elements of a topological quantum computer originate in a purely mathematical realm, experiments in fractional quantum Hall systems indicate these elements may be created in the real world using semiconductors made of gallium arsenide at a temperature of near absolute zero and subjected to strong magnetic fields.

Majorana fermion Fermion that is its own antiparticle

A Majorana fermion, also referred to as a Majorana particle, is a fermion that is its own antiparticle. They were hypothesised by Ettore Majorana in 1937. The term is sometimes used in opposition to a Dirac fermion, which describes fermions that are not their own antiparticles.

String-net liquid

In condensed matter physics, a string-net is an extended object whose collective behavior has been proposed as a physical mechanism for topological order by Michael A. Levin and Xiao-Gang Wen. A particular string-net model may involve only closed loops; or networks of oriented, labeled strings obeying branching rules given by some gauge group; or still more general networks.

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Xiao-Gang Wen is a Chinese-American physicist. He is a Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Distinguished Visiting Research Chair at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. His expertise is in condensed matter theory in strongly correlated electronic systems. In Oct. 2016, he was awarded the Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Prize.

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David Robert Nelson American physicist

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The toric code is a topological quantum error correcting code, and an example of a stabilizer code, defined on a two-dimensional spin lattice It is the simplest and most well studied of the quantum double models. It is also the simplest example of topological order—Z2 topological order (first studied in the context of Z2 spin liquid in 1991). The toric code can also be considered to be a Z2 lattice gauge theory in a particular limit. It was introduced by Alexei Kitaev.

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The Aharonov–Casher effect is a quantum mechanical phenomenon predicted in 1984 by Yakir Aharonov and Aharon Casher, in which a traveling magnetic dipole is affected by an electric field. It is dual to the Aharonov–Bohm effect, in which the quantum phase of a charged particle depends upon which side of a magnetic flux tube it comes through. In the Aharonov–Casher effect, the particle has a magnetic moment and the tubes are charged instead. It was observed in a gravitational neutron interferometer in 1989 and later by fluxon interference of magnetic vortices in Josephson junctions. It has also been seen with electrons and atoms.

Time crystal structure that repeats in time, as well as space; a kind of non-equilibrium matter

A time crystal or space-time crystal is a state of matter that repeats in time, as well as in space. Normal three-dimensional crystals have a repeating pattern in space, but remain unchanged as time passes. Time crystals repeat themselves in time as well, leading the crystal to change from moment to moment.

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Weyl semimetal

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The term Dirac matter refers to a class of condensed matter systems which can be effectively described by the Dirac equation. Even though the Dirac equation itself was formulated for fermions, the quasi-particles present within Dirac matter can be of any statistics. As a consequence, Dirac matter can be distinguished in fermionic, bosonic or anyonic Dirac matter. Prominent examples of Dirac matter are Graphene, topological insulators, Dirac semimetals, Weyl semimetals, various high-temperature superconductors with -wave pairing and liquid Helium-3. The effective theory of such systems is classified by a specific choice of the Dirac mass, the Dirac velocity, the Dirac matrices and the space-time curvature. The universal treatment of the class of Dirac matter in terms of an effective theory leads to a common features with respect to the density of states, the heat capacity and impurity scattering.


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