Frustration in many-body spin systems is a situation where the spins cannot orient themselves to fully minimize the interactions with their neighbors. It is caused, in general, by competing interactions or by the lattice structure, as in the antiferromagnets on non-bipartite lattices. Over the years frustrated systems have been studied substantially, since frustration can destabilize the antiferromagnetic order, lead to different phases of matter and induce various exotic properties. Frustration can be caused also by a choice of boundary conditions, i.e. the lattice topology. For instance, a ring with an odd number of sites is non-bipartite, which makes antiferromagnets in this setting frustrated. The subject of this thesis are zero-temperature one-dimensional quantum systems exactly in this setting. The major content is discussing how such a simple setting can influence the antiferromagnetic order, by studying spin-1/2 chains with discrete symmetries, whose breaking is related to the onset of the order. After reviewing the known results on topological frustration, dealing with non-thermodynamic quantities, we develop an approach for studying symmetry breaking, that is both suitable for exact analytical computations and meaningful for discussing the order also in a finite system. It consists of the realization that many spin-1/2 chains without external magnetic fields, such as the quantum XY chain, possess anticommuting global symmetries when the number of lattice sites is an odd number, implying the ground-state degeneracy already in a finite system. In this framework, we discover that topological frustration, despite being induced only by the choice of boundary conditions and even/odd system size choice, can affect the magnetization in the thermodynamic limit and system's quantum phase transitions. We find that topological frustration can destroy local order, create a site-dependent magnetization that varies in space with an incommensurate pattern, induce a first-order quantum phase transition that is not present without frustration and modify the nature of a second-order transition, by destroying local order at both sides of the transition and preserving only non-local string order parameters. All these results indicate the incompleteness of the approach to quantum many-body systems, based on the Ginzburg-Landau theory, that tries to capture the properties of the system by taking the system size to infinity before computing the observables and neglects the influence of the chain length as a relevant scale. We find that topological frustration can affect also non-equilibrium properties, by considering a local quantum quench setup. Namely, we study the Loschmidt echo and find it displays qualitatively and quantitatively different behavior for antiferromagnetic rings with an even and odd number of sites. Most of all, the differences become clearer for large system sizes, thus allowing to distinguish in a simple out-of-equilibrium experiment a system made by a certain, large, number of spins from the one with a single additional spin. The thesis also contains a mathematical part. In studying order parameters of models mappable to free fermions, Toeplitz determinants with symbols that possess a part proportional to the delta function arise. We derive asymptotic formulas for this type of determinants.
Topologically Frustrated Quantum Spin Chains / Maric, Vanja. - (2021 Oct 18).
|Titolo:||Topologically Frustrated Quantum Spin Chains|
|Data di pubblicazione:||18-ott-2021|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||8.1 PhD thesis|