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February 24, 20234:00 pm – 5:00 pm (CDT)

‘Dirty’ Quantum Magnets


Itamar Kimchi (Georgia Tech)


Ar. Abanov



Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics & Astronomy

College Station, Texas 77843

Event Details

Studying quantum entanglement over the past decade has allowed us to make remarkable theoretical progress in understanding correlated many-body quantum systems. However in real materials electrons experience spatially random heterogeneities ("dirt") whose theoretical treatment, including strong correlations, has been a challenge. I will describe how synthesizing ideas from quantum information theory, statistical mechanics, and quantum field theory gives us new insights into the role of randomness in 2D correlated quantum spin systems, enabling us to understand a broad variety of experimental observations. First I will outline our results in two theoretically controlled settings, showing that even weak randomness necessarily nucleates certain topological defects with free spins that control observable physics. Second I will describe how the theory predicts a scaling collapse of the temperature and magnetic-field dependence of the heat capacity that is consistent with experimental observations from multiple materials with mild disorder. Third I will describe how these results lead us to conjectures of general UV-to-IR constraints (a la "Lieb-Schultz-Mattis") on all possible behaviors of quantum magnets, even with randomness; and further to our current research on anomalous localization in disordered topological insulator boundaries.

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