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Topology Meets Frustration: Exact Solutions for Topological Surface States on Geometrically Frustrated Lattices
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physics.
2017 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

One of the main features of topological phases is the presence of robust boundary states that are protected by a topological invariant. Famous examples of such states are the chiral edge states of a Chern insulator, the helical edge states of a two-dimensional Z2 insulator, and the Fermi arcs of Weyl semimetals. Despite their omnipresence, these topological boundary states can typically only be theoretically investigated through numerical studies due to the lack of analytical solutions for their wave functions. In the rare cases that wave-function solutions are available, they only exist for simple fine-tuned systems or for semi-infinite systems. Exact solutions are, however, common in the field of flat bands physics, where they lead to an understanding of the bulk bands rather than the boundary physics. It is well known that fully-periodic lattices with a frustrated geometry host localized modes that have a constant energy throughout the Brillouin zone. These localized modes appear due to a mechanism referred to as destructive interference, which leads to the disappearance of the wave-function amplitude on certain lattice sites. Making use of this mechanism, it is shown in this licentiate thesis that exact wave-function solutions can also be found on d-dimensional geometrically frustrated lattices that feature (d − 1)-dimensional boundaries. These exact solutions localize to the boundaries when the frustrated lattice hosts a topological phase and correspond to the robust, topological boundary states.

This licentiate thesis revolves around the publication, which describes the method to finding these exact, analytical solutions for the topological boundary states on geometrically frustrated lattices, which was authored by the author of this licentiate thesis together with Maximilian Trescher and Emil J. Bergholtz and published in Physical Review B on August 30, 2017 with the title Anatomy of topological surface states: Exact solutions from destructive interference on frustrated lattices. An introduction is given on topological phases in condensed matter systems focussing on those models of which explicit examples are given in the paper: two-dimensional Chern insulators and three-dimensional Weyl semimetals. Moreover, by making use of the kagome lattice as an example the appearance of localized and semi-localized modes on geometrically frustrated lattices is elaborated upon. The chapters in this licentiate thesis thus endeavor to provide the reader with the proper background to comfortably read, understand, place into context and judge the relevance of the work in the accompanying publication. The licentiate thesis finishes with an outlook where it is discussed that the method presented in the paper can be generalized to an even larger class of lattices and can also be applied to find exact solutions for higher-order topological phases such as corner and hinge states. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Physics, Stockholm University , 2017.
National Category
Condensed Matter Physics
Research subject
Theoretical Physics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-149181OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-149181DiVA, id: diva2:1158581
Presentation
2017-12-12, C5:1007, Roslagstullsbacken 21, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-02-16 Created: 2017-11-20 Last updated: 2018-02-16Bibliographically approved

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