Symmetry-Protected Topological Orders in Interacting Bosonic Systems

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Science  21 Dec 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6114, pp. 1604-1606
DOI: 10.1126/science.1227224

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Symmetry-protected topological (SPT) phases are bulk-gapped quantum phases with symmetries, which have gapless or degenerate boundary states as long as the symmetries are not broken. The SPT phases in free fermion systems, such as topological insulators, can be classified; however, it is not known what SPT phases exist in general interacting systems. We present a systematic way to construct SPT phases in interacting bosonic systems. Just as group theory allows us to construct 230 crystal structures in three-dimensional space, we use group cohomology theory to systematically construct different interacting bosonic SPT phases in any dimension and with any symmetry, leading to the discovery of bosonic topological insulators and superconductors.

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