Publications associated with Condensed Matter Theory


Universal statistics of vortex lines

ArXiv (2011)

A Nahum, JT Chalker

We study the vortex lines that are a feature of many random or disordered three-dimensional systems. These show universal statistical properties on long length scales, and geometrical phase transitions analogous to percolation transitions but in distinct universality classes. The field theories for these problems have not previously been identified, so that while many numerical studies have been performed, a framework for interpreting the results has been lacking. We provide such a framework with mappings to simple supersymmetric models. Our main focus is on vortices in short-range correlated complex fields, which show a geometrical phase transition that we argue is described by the CP^{k|k} model (essentially the CP^{n-1} model in the replica limit n\rightarrow 1). This can be seen by mapping a lattice version of the problem to a lattice gauge theory. A related field theory with a noncompact gauge field, the 'NCCP^{k|k} model', is a supersymmetric extension of the standard dual theory for the XY transition, and we show that XY duality gives another way to understand the appearance of field theories of this type. The supersymmetric descriptions yield results relevant, for example, to vortices in the XY model and in superfluids, to optical vortices, and to certain models of cosmic strings. A distinct but related field theory, the RP^{2l|2l} model (or the RP^{n-1} model in the limit n\rightarrow 1) describes the unoriented vortices which occur for instance in nematic liquid crystals. Finally, we show that in two dimensions, a lattice gauge theory analogous to that discussed in three dimensions gives a simple way to see the known relation between two-dimensional percolation and the CP^{k|k} sigma model with a \theta-term.


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