Swimming upstream: Flux flow reverses for lattice bosons in a magnetic field

December 27, 2011 by Stuart Mason Dambrot feature
Topological transitions in the Bose-Hubbard phase diagram. The Galilean invariant regime denotes the region where σxy is proportional to the particle density nb divided by the magnetic field strength B. Mott insulator lobes are indicated in gray. The yellow and green lines exhibit an emergent particle hole symmetry, where σxy = 0. They are divided into two types: (i) Lines emanating from the tip of the Mott lobe at integer boson filling where σxy has a smooth zero crossing (green). (ii) Transition lines (yellow), through which Bσxy exhibits integer jumps. The latter continue into the phase diagram, with σxy > 0, as indicated by the dashed lines. The blue region corresponds to regions where the Hall conductivity is negative. Copyright © PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1110813108

(PhysOrg.com) -- Matter in the subatomic realm is, well, a different matter. In the case of strongly correlated phases of matter, one of the most surprising findings has to do with a phenomenon known as the Hall response – an important theoretical and experimental tool for describing emergent charge carriers in strongly correlated systems, examples of which include high temperature superconductors and the quantum Hall effect. At Weizmann Institute of Science and California Institute of Technology, recent theoretical physics research into bosons interacting in a magnetic field has shown that, among other surprising effects, Hall conductivity – and therefore flux flow – undergo reversal. The scientists have concluded that their findings are immediately applicable to a wide range of phenomena in the realm of condensed matter physics.

Sebastian D. Huber in the Department of Condensed Matter Physics at Weizmann, working with Netanel H. Lindner at CalTech’s Institute for Quantum Information and Department of Physics, describes the obstacles encountered in conducting their research. “The Hall conductivity of continuum bosons is directly dictated by the density of particles,” says Huber. “Interesting lattice effects leading to a deviation from this elementary rule are only at work for strong inter-particle interactions. In short, the existence of holes is crucial to our work.”

Forces acting on a vortex. (a) The classical Magnus force due to the interaction of the velocity field of the vortex and the external flow vs acts perpendicular to vs. (b) Vortex motion leads to a change in the momentum of the system due to its phase singularity, which is perpendicular to its velocity vv. (c) Moving a vortex around a lattice site yields a Berry phase of 2πα = 2π(nb + p). Copyright © PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1110813108

While for fermions the band theory of solids together with the Pauli principle provides the notion of holes, for bosons they needed an interaction-driven Mott insulator – a material that should conduct electricity according to conventional band theories, but due to particle-particle interactions is an insulator when measured, particularly at low temperatures – for holes to arise. “Hence, our main challenge was to study a lattice effect in the presence of strong interactions.”

Huber and Lindner addressed the question of the Hall conductivity by using concepts of topology like the Chern number and the effective magnetic monopoles which constitute sources of the Chern density. “While these concepts are well known,” Huber explains, “their application to gapless interacting systems is novel. The realization that gapless systems can also have topological transitions like the ones we found between different values of the Chern number, or equivalently, the Hall conductivity, is certainly an exciting new discovery. The actual question we resolved - the value of the Hall coefficient of lattice bosons – has been a longstanding problem motivated by high-temperature superconductivity. In this sense, our work contributes to a deeper understanding of lattice systems in general.”

Huber describes the next steps being considered, given that their work has shown that sign reversals of the Hall conductivity are possible in clean systems with no disorder, as well as in a purely bosonic model. “In high-temperature superconductors such reversals are experimentally observed,” Huber notes. ”The common wisdom is that the underlying Fermi surface is undergoing a structural change due to a competing instability of strip-formation. Our work suggests that this might not be the only source of such sign-reversals and no fermionic mechanism needs to be invoked. As the exact nature of these systems is highly controversial, we plan to extend our work to be able to directly access this problem.”

Concerning the surprising effects they found (e.g., sign reversal) of topological transitions between different integer values, Huber stresses that while it has been well-known since the discovery of the quantum Hall state that topology can have an important influence on solid state systems, there has recently been tremendous interest in topologically non-trivial states in the form of topological insulators. “However,” he adds, “all these systems are characterized by a gap to excitations in the bulk. Our results show that such topological transitions, and consequently the sign-reversals, are possible also in a gapless superfluid.”

While these findings are new, they are actually based on a very old theorem by von Neumann and Wigner regarding level crossings. “So,” Huber concludes, “in a sense we only brought existing knowledge on the structure of energy levels into the fascinating new world of topology in systems.”

Explore further: Recognizing blood poisoning quickly

More information: Topological transitions for lattice bosons in a magnetic field, Published online before print November 22, PNAS December 13, 2011, vol. 108 no. 50, 19925-19930, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1110813108


Related Stories

Recognizing blood poisoning quickly

December 2, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- Is the patient suffering from blood poisoning? To answer this question, the doctor draws a blood sample and sends it to a central laboratory for testing. This takes up valuable time, which could cost the ...

Cold spots contaminated in high humidity incubators

December 16, 2011

Microbes in human incubators, like those found in neonatal intensive care units, grow most robustly on cold spots when the relative humidity is at least 60 percent, according to a paper in the December 2011 issue of the journal ...

Physicists 'turn signals' for neuron growth

December 15, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new paper scheduled for publication in the January issue of Nature Photonics describes the use of spinning microparticles to direct the growth of nerve fiber, a discovery that could allow for directed growth ...

Compound in Apples Inhibits E. coli O157:H7

December 16, 2011

A compound that is abundant in apples and strawberries inhibits the highly pathogenic E. coli O157:H7 biofilms while sparing a beneficial strain of E. coli that also forms biofilms in the human gut, according to a paper in ...

Recommended for you

Three kinds of information from a single X-ray measurement

December 11, 2017

Whatever the size of mobile phones or computers are, the way in which such electronic devices operate relies on the interactions between materials. For this reason, engineers as well as researchers need to know exactly how ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

4.5 / 5 (8) Dec 27, 2011
I love how some articles on physorg are like this:

"Moving a vortex around a lattice site yields a Berry phase of 2 = 2(nb + p). While for fermions the band theory of solids together with the Pauli principle provides the notion of holes, for bosons they needed an interaction-driven Mott insulator a material that should conduct electricity according to conventional band theories, but due to particle-particle interactions is an insulator when measured, particularly at low temperatures for holes to arise."

While others are more like this:

"Here is a ball, it is red, it bounces".
1 / 5 (6) Dec 27, 2011
I agree, I stopped reading when I realized how technical it was going to be. No one wants to read an article about something when it is full of jargon.
5 / 5 (7) Dec 27, 2011
Actually I really like it when they use the jargon, since it's more meaningful and you actually get a specific idea of what they're talking about. But I can see how it would be difficult for untrained people to get through it.
3.3 / 5 (3) Dec 27, 2011
The preprint is here: http://arxiv.org/abs/1105.0904 What they observed was packing of quantum vortices, which are crowding in current flow under influence of bosonic condensate analogy of Magnus force. Their packing leads into occasional reversal of vortex spin and their motion in opposite direction just before the moment (Berry phase), when they get locked mutually (Mott phase). You would observe an isolated vortices, how they're traveling along boundary of crowd of locked vortices in the opposite direction, than the free vortices outside of crowd.
Dec 27, 2011
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
1 / 5 (7) Dec 28, 2011
Exotic forms of matter in the interior of the Sun may sustain life on Earth [1] and cause changes in Earth's climate [2]. climate changes and solar eruptions.

1. "Neutron Repulsion", The APEIRON Journal, in press


2. "Super-fluidity in the solar interior: Implications for solar eruptions and climate", J. Fusion Energy 21, 193-198 (2002)


With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
5 / 5 (2) Dec 28, 2011
Idk, I kind of like the big words.......helps learn ...stuff..
1 / 5 (2) Dec 28, 2011
and you actually get a specific idea of what they're talking about
Actually - does it mean, you you prove it? Which idea they're talking about?
5 / 5 (1) Dec 30, 2011
I agree, I prefer actual research abstracts because in an age of google it is not hard to learn the basics of particle physics and other fields while reading. Immersing yourself in jargon and either drawing pictures or translating concepts into common idiom is one of the fastest ways to learn.
1 / 5 (2) Dec 30, 2011
Isn't it true that the effect of the pressure on the universe is to produce an additional contribution to the mass-energy density in the universe? So an increase in pressure actually slows down expansion, until an elasticity rebound (of sorts) takes effect; and with something as critical as the manipulation of energy levels in nature--there would be an immense reversal of astronomical proportions, like the state of matter in the (our) universe could rapidly reheat after measures were taken to create a deep freeze; in an unnatural way? I guess not everyone cares, or thinks, enough about the fate of our existence here... Should be interesting to see what happens, right?? God Bless You Everyone...
1 / 5 (3) Jan 04, 2012
Sub: Swim against the flowdown Phenomena
This is the scientific essence of philosophy.
Plasma Regulated electromagnetic phenomena in magnetic Field environment- means Best of brains trust. one can find many such Interesting interludes and search for junctions. DMVT structure functions in dual mode. The orgins- Indepth study-Cosmology vedas Interlinks.Vidyardhi Nanduri

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.