Tuesday Physics Seminar: Open Quantum Systems

Tuesday, September 24, 2019 The event started -20 days ago

2:50 PM 3:50 PM

Optics Building

Room 234-237

Topological Band Theory and its Generalization to Open Quantum Systems

Dr Simon Lieu (Cavendish Laboratory)


At the heart of condensed matter theory lies the study of phase transitions. In simplest terms, a phase transition occurs when a large number of particles exhibit qualitatively different collective behavior as a function of a single parameter of the system. Until the last couple of decades, practically all phases of matter could be understood within the framework of Landau-Ginzburg symmetry breaking: Different phases are characterized by whether their "order parameter" (e.g. magnetization) breaks or preserves symmetries of the Hamiltonian. Topological phases of matter represent an exception to this paradigm and have been the subject of intense research during the last 15 years, culminating in the 2015 Physics Nobel Prize. In this pedagogical talk, I will introduce the idea of symmetry-protected "topological band theory," which was developed to predict and explain robust features in the ground-state electronic structure of insulators and superconductors. While these ideas have already found fundamental applications in quantum metrology and quantum computation, there has been a recent effort to understand the role of topology in the dynamics of many-body systems in highly non-equilibrium environments. I will discuss our latest work which extends ideas from topological band theory to open quantum systems, uncovering a rare example of universality in the dynamics of many-body quantum systems during their approach to a steady state [1].

[1] S. Lieu, M. McGinley, N. R. Cooper, arXiv:1908.08834



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Optics Building

John Wright Blvd.Huntsville, AL 35899

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