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Emergent higher symmetry in topological phases of matter

Friday, April 12, 2019
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Location: East Bridge 201 (Richard P. Feynman Lecture Hall)
Xiao-Gang Wen, Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Abstract: Global symmetry (0-symmetry) acts on the whole space while higher k-symmetry acts on the codimension-k subspaces. The usual condensed matter lattice theories do not have higher symmetries (unless we engineer fine-tuned toy models). However, for gapped systems, higher symmetries can emerge from the usual condensed matter theories at low energies (usually in a spontaneously broken form). We pointed out that the emergent spontaneously broken higher symmetries are nothing but a kind of topological orders. Thus the study of emergent spontaneously broken higher symmetries is a study of topological order. The emergent higher symmetries can be used to constrain possible phase transitions and possible phases induced by certain types of excitations in topological orders.

  • This week only, the IQIM Seminar will be in 201 E. Bridge with lunch provided following the talk in 114 E. Bridge.

Series: IQIM Postdoctoral and Graduate Student Seminar Series
For more information, please phone 626-395-4013 or email

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