Emergent Space-Time Supersymmetry at the Boundary of a Topological Phase

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Science  03 Apr 2014:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1248253

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In contrast to ordinary symmetries, supersymmetry (SUSY) interchanges bosons and fermions. Originally proposed as a symmetry of our universe, it still awaits experimental verification. Here, we theoretically show that SUSY emerges naturally in condensed matter systems known as topological superconductors.We argue that the quantum phase transitions at the boundary of topological superconductors in both two and three dimensions display SUSY when probed at long distances and times. Experimental consequences include exact relations between quantities measured in disparate experiments and, in some cases, exact knowledge of the universal critical exponents. The topological surface states themselves may be interpreted as arising from spontaneously broken SUSY, indicating a deep relation between topological phases and SUSY.

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