Publications by John Chalker


Goldstone modes in the emergent gauge fields of a frustrated magnet

PHYSICAL REVIEW B 101 (2020) 24413

JT Chalker, SJ Garratt

© 2020 American Physical Society. We consider magnon excitations in the spin-glass phase of geometrically frustrated antiferromagnets with weak exchange disorder, focusing on the nearest-neighbor pyrochlore-lattice Heisenberg model at large spin. The low-energy degrees of freedom in this system are represented by three copies of a U(1) emergent gauge field, related by global spin-rotation symmetry. We show that the Goldstone modes associated with spin-glass order are excitations of these gauge fields, and that the standard theory of Goldstone modes in Heisenberg spin glasses (due to Halperin and Saslow) must be modified in this setting.


Eigenstate correlations, thermalization, and the butterfly effect

Physical Review Letters American Physical Society 122 (2019) 220601

A Chan, A De Luca, J Chalker

We discuss eigenstate correlations for ergodic, spatially extended many-body quantum systems, in terms of the statistical properties of matrix elements of local observables. While the eigenstate thermalization hypothesis (ETH) is known to give an excellent description of these quantities, the phenomenon of scrambling and the butterfly effect imply structure beyond ETH. We determine the universal form of this structure at long distances and small eigenvalue separations for Floquet systems. We use numerical studies of a Floquet quantum circuit to illustrate both the accuracy of ETH and the existence of our predicted additional correlations.


Eigenstate correlations, thermalization and the Butterfly Effect

ArXiv (2018)
Part of a series from ArXiv

A Chan, A De Luca, J Chalker

We discuss eigenstate correlations for ergodic, spatially extended many-body quantum systems, in terms of the statistical properties of matrix elements of local observables. While the eigenstate thermalization hypothesis (ETH) is known to give an excellent description of these quantities, the butterfly effect implies structure beyond ETH. We determine the universal form of this structure at long distances and small eigenvalue separations for Floquet systems. We use numerical studies of a Floquet quantum circuit to illustrate both the accuracy of ETH and the existence of our predicted additional correlations.


Exact solution of a percolation analog for the many-body localization transition

Physical Review Letters American Physical Society 99 (2019) 99
Part of a series from Physical Review Letters

S Roy, D Logan, J Chalker

We construct and solve a classical percolation model with a phase transition that we argue acts as a proxy for the quantum many-body localization transition. The classical model is defined on a graph in the Fock space of a disordered, interacting quantum spin chain, using a convenient choice of basis. Edges of the graph represent matrix elements of the spin Hamiltonian between pairs of basis states that are expected to hybridize strongly. At weak disorder, all nodes are connected, forming a single cluster. Many separate clusters appear above a critical disorder strength, each typically having a size that is exponentially large in the number of spins but a vanishing fraction of the Fock-space dimension. We formulate a transfer matrix approach that yields an exact value ν = 2 for the localization length exponent, and also use complete enumeration of clusters to study the transition numerically in finite-sized systems.


Magnetic Excitations of the Classical Spin Liquid MgCr2O4

PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS 122 (2019) ARTN 097201

X Bai, JAM Paddison, E Kapit, SM Koohpayeh, J-J Wen, SE Dutton, AT Savici, AI Kolesnikov, GE Granroth, CL Broholm, JT Chalker, M Mourigal


Spectral statistics and many-body quantum chaos with conserved charge

Phys. Rev. Lett. 123 (2019) 210603-210603

AJ Friedman, A Chan, AD Luca, JT Chalker

We investigate spectral statistics in spatially extended, chaotic many-body quantum systems with a conserved charge. We compute the spectral form factor $K(t)$ analytically for a minimal Floquet circuit model that has a $U(1)$ symmetry encoded via auxiliary spin-$1/2$ degrees of freedom. Averaging over an ensemble of realizations, we relate $K(t)$ to a partition function for the spins, given by a Trotterization of the spin-$1/2$ Heisenberg ferromagnet. Using Bethe Ansatz techniques, we extract the 'Thouless time' $t^{\vphantom{*}}_{\rm Th}$ demarcating the extent of random matrix behavior, and find scaling behavior governed by diffusion for $K(t)$ at $t\lesssim t^{\vphantom{*}}_{\rm Th}$. We also report numerical results for $K(t)$ in a generic Floquet spin model, which are consistent with these analytic predictions.


Solution of a Minimal Model for Many-Body Quantum Chaos

PHYSICAL REVIEW X 8 (2018) ARTN 041019

A Chan, A De Luca, JT Chalker


Mott, Floquet, and the response of periodically driven Anderson insulators

Physical Review B 98 (2018)

DT Liu, JT Chalker, V Khemani, SL Sondhi

© 2018 American Physical Society. We consider periodically driven Anderson insulators. The short-time behavior for weak, monochromatic, uniform electric fields is given by linear response theory and was famously derived by Mott. We go beyond this to consider both long times - which is the physics of Floquet late time states - and strong electric fields. This results in a "phase diagram" in the frequency-field strength plane, in which we identify four distinct regimes. These are a linear response regime dominated by preexisting Mott resonances, which exists provided Floquet saturation is not reached within a period; a nonlinear perturbative regime, which exhibits multiphoton-absorption in response to the field; a near-adiabatic regime, which exhibits a primarily reactive response spread over the entire sample and is insensitive to preexisting resonances; and finally an enhanced dissipative regime.


Solution of a minimal model for many-body quantum chaos

Physical Review X American Physical Society 8 (2018) 041019

A Chan, A De Luca, J Chalker

We solve a minimal model for an ergodic phase in a spatially extended quantum many-body system. The model consists of a chain of sites with nearest-neighbor coupling under Floquet time evolution. Quantum states at each site span a q-dimensional Hilbert space, and time evolution for a pair of sites is generated by a q2 × q2 random unitary matrix. The Floquet operator is specified by a quantum circuit of depth two, in which each site is coupled to its neighbor on one side during the first half of the evolution period and to its neighbor on the other side during the second half of the period. We show how dynamical behavior averaged over realizations of the random matrices can be evaluated using diagrammatic techniques and how this approach leads to exact expressions in the large-q limit. We give results for the spectral form factor, relaxation of local observables, bipartite entanglement growth, and operator spreading.


Deconfinement transitions in a generalised XY model

Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical IOP Publishing 50 (2017) 424003-424003

P Serna, JT Chalker, P Fendley

We find the complete phase diagram of a generalised XY model that includes half-vortices. The model possesses superfluid, pair-superfluid and disordered phases, separated by Kosterlitz–Thouless (KT) transitions for both the half-vortices and ordinary vortices, as well as an Ising-type transition. There also occurs an unusual deconfining phase transition, where the disordered to superfluid transition is of Ising rather than KT type. We show by analytical arguments and extensive numerical simulations that there is a point in the phase diagram where the KT transition line meets the deconfining Ising phase transition. We find that the latter extends into the disordered phase not as a phase transition, but rather solely as a deconfinement transition. It is best understood in the dual height model, where on one side of the transition height steps are bound into pairs while on the other they are unbound. We also extend the phase diagram of the dual model, finding both $O(2)$ loop model and antiferromagnetic Ising transitions.


Majorana spectroscopy of three-dimensional Kitaev spin liquids

Physical Review B American Physical Society 93 (2016) 235146

A Smith, J Knolle, DL Kovrizhin, J Chalker, R Moessner

We analyze the dynamical response of a range of three-dimensional Kitaev quantum spin liquids, using lattice models chosen to explore the different possible low-energy spectra for gapless Majorana fermions, with either Fermi surfaces, nodal lines, or Weyl points. We find that the behavior of the dynamical structure factor is distinct in all three cases, reflecting the quasiparticle density of states in two fundamentally different ways. First, the low-energy response is either straightforwardly related to the power with which the low-energy density of states vanishes; or for a nonvanishing density of states, to the phase shifts encountered in the corresponding x-ray edge problem, whose phenomenology we extend to the case of Majorana fermions. Second, at higher energies, there is a rich fine structure, determined by microscopic features of the Majorana spectrum. Our theoretical results test the usefulness of inelastic neutron scattering as a probe of these quantum spin liquids: we find that although spin flips fractionalize, the main features of the dynamical spin response nevertheless admit straightforward interpretations in terms of Majorana and flux loop excitations.


Majorana spectroscopy of 3D Kitaev spin-liquids

Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics American Physical Society (2016)

JT Chalker, A Smith, J Knolle, DL Kovrizhin, R Moessner

We analyse the dynamical response of a range of 3D Kitaev quantum spin-liquids, using lattice models chosen to explore the different possible low-energy spectra for gapless Majorana fermions, with either Fermi surfaces, nodal lines or Weyl points. We find that the behaviour of the dynamical structure factor is distinct in all three cases, reflecting the quasiparticle density of states in two fundamentally different ways. First, the low-energy response is either straightforwardly related to the power with which the low-energy density of states vanishes; or for a non-vanishing density of states, to the phase shifts encountered in the corresponding X-ray edge problem, whose phenomenology we extend to the case of Majorana fermions. Second, at higher energies, there is a rich fine-structure, determined by microscopic features of the Majorana spectrum. Our theoretical results test the usefulness of inelastic neutron scattering as a probe of these quantum spin liquids: we find that although spin flips fractionalise, the main features of the dynamical spin response nevertheless admit straightforward interpretations in terms of Majorana and flux loop excitations.


Classical spin liquids in stacked triangular-lattice Ising antiferromagnets

Physical Review B American Physical Society 94 (2016) 224413

DT Liu, FJ Burnell, LDC Jaubert, J Chalker

We study Ising antiferromagnets that have nearest-neighbour interactions on multilayer triangular lattices with frustrated (abc and abab) stacking, and make comparisons with the unfrustrated (aaa) stacking. If interlayer couplings are much weaker than in-plane ones, the paramagnetic phase of models with frustrated stackings has a classical spin-liquid regime at low temperature, in which correlations are strong both within and between planes, but there is no long-range order. We investigate this regime using Monte Carlo simulations and by mapping the spin models to coupled height models, which are treated using renormalisation group methods and an analysis of the effects of vortex excitations. The classical spin-liquid regime is parametrically wide at small interlayer coupling in models with frustrated stackings. By contrast, for the unfrustrated stacking there is no extended regime in which interlayer correlations are strong without three-dimensional order.


Coherent hole propagation in an exactly solvable gapless spin liquid

Physical Review B American Physical Society 94 (2016) 235105

GB Halász, J Chalker

We examine the dynamics of a single hole in the gapless phase of the Kitaev honeycomb model, focusing on the slow-hole regime where the bare hopping amplitude t is much less than the Kitaev exchange energy J. In this regime, the hole does not generate gapped flux excitations and is dressed only by the gapless fermion excitations. Investigating the single-hole spectral function, we find that the hole propagates coherently with a quasiparticle weight that is finite but approaches zero as t/J → 0. This conclusion follows from two approximate treatments, which capture the same physics in complementary ways. Both treatments use the stationary limit as an exactly solvable starting point to study the spectral function approximately (i) by employing a variational approach in terms of a trial state that interpolates between the limits of a stationary hole and an infinitely fast hole and (ii) by considering a special point in the gapless phase that corresponds to a simplified one-dimensional problem.


Dynamics of fractionalization in quantum spin liquids

Physical review B: Condensed matter and materials physics American Physical Society 92 (2015) ARTN 115127-

J Knolle, D Kovrizhin, J Chalker, R Moessner

We present the theory of dynamical spin response for the Kitaev honeycomb model, obtaining exact results for the structure factor (SF) in gapped and gapless, Abelian and non-Abelian quantum spin-liquid (QSL) phases. We also describe the advances in methodology necessary to compute these results. The structure factor shows signatures of spin fractionalization into emergent quasiparticles: Majorana fermions and fluxes of Z2 gauge field. In addition to a broad continuum from spin fractionalization, we find sharp (δ-function) features in the response. These arise in two distinct ways: from excited states containing only (static) fluxes and no (mobile) fermions, and from excited states in which fermions are bound to fluxes. The SF is markedly different in Abelian and non-Abelian QSLs, and bound fermion-flux composites appear only in the non-Abelian phase.


Long-range magnetic order in models for rare-earth quasicrystals

PHYSICAL REVIEW B 92 (2015) ARTN 224409

S Thiem, JT Chalker


Neutron scattering signatures of the 3D hyperhoneycomb Kitaev quantum spin liquid

Physical review B: Condensed matter and materials physics American Physical Society 92 (2015) ARTN 180408-

A Smith, J Knolle, D Kovrizhin, J Chalker, R Moessner

Motivated by recent synthesis of the hyperhoneycomb material β−Li2IrO3, we study the dynamical structure factor (DSF) of the corresponding 3D Kitaev quantum spin-liquid (QSL), whose fractionalized degrees of freedom are Majorana fermions and emergent flux loops. The properties of this 3D model are known to differ in important ways from those of its 2D counterpart—it has a finite-temperature phase transition, as well as distinct features in the Raman response. We show, however, that the qualitative behavior of the DSF is broadly dimension-independent. Characteristics of the 3D DSF include a response gap even in the gapless QSL phase and an energy dependence deriving from the Majorana fermion density of states. Since the majority of the response is from states containing a single Majorana excitation, our results suggest inelastic neutron scattering as the spectroscopy of choice to illuminate the physics of Majorana fermions in Kitaev QSLs.


Deconfined Quantum Criticality, Scaling Violations, and Classical Loop Models

PHYSICAL REVIEW X 5 (2015) ARTN 041048

A Nahum, JT Chalker, P Serna, M Ortuno, AM Somoza


Frustration and correlations in stacked triangular-lattice Ising antiferromagnets

PHYSICAL REVIEW B 92 (2015) ARTN 220417

FJ Burnell, JT Chalker


Emergent SO(5) Symmetry at the Néel to Valence-Bond-Solid Transition

Physical Review Letters American Physical Society 115 (2015) ARTN 267203-

A Nahum, P Serna, J Chalker, M Ortuño, AM Somoza

We show numerically that the “deconfined” quantum critical point between the Neel antiferromagnet ´ and the columnar valence-bond solid, for a square lattice of spin 1=2, has an emergent SO(5) symmetry. This symmetry allows the Neel vector and the valence-bond solid order parameter to be rotated into each ´ other. It is a remarkable (2 þ 1)-dimensional analogue of the SOð4Þ¼½SUð2Þ × SUð2Þ=Z2 symmetry that appears in the scaling limit for the spin-1=2 Heisenberg chain. The emergent SO(5) symmetry is strong evidence that the phase transition in the (2 þ 1)-dimensional system is truly continuous, despite the violations of finite-size scaling observed previously in this problem. It also implies surprising relations between correlation functions at the transition. The symmetry enhancement is expected to apply generally to the critical two-component Abelian Higgs model (noncompact CP1 model). The result indicates that in three dimensions there is an SO(5)-symmetric conformal field theory that has no relevant singlet operators, so is radically different from conventional Wilson-Fisher-type conformal field theories.

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