A more accurate way to identify phases of matter


Phases of matter are the distinct physical forms taken on by all the “stuff” in the universe. CLassifying the phases of matter is a convenient way in lower levels to identify when substances change state.

However, this is a simple system of classification, and the structure of matter is involved, it isn’t without difficulties. Numerous substances can’t be grouped expertly and various, not under any condition.

Yale scientists now have come up with a more accurate way to help classify phases of matter.

Understanding the complexities of these phases could open leaps forward in quantum computing and materials science. A portion of these phases could be utilized as quantum hard drives that will store quantum information. That is the reason researchers are effectively looking for new ways to deal with describing and characterizing them.

Over ten years back, Caltech physicists Alexei Kitaev and John Preskill and simultaneously Michael Levin alongside Xiao-Gang Wen at MIT pioneered another diagnostic tool — called topological ensnarement entropy — for recognizing whether a period of the matter is topological. Topology clarifies why you can transform a doughnut shape into a coffee mug shape by permanently disfiguring its surface. Topologically, a coffee mug is equivalent to a doughnut since the two of them have one hole.

Topology is especially significant in quantum research because the vigorous properties of topological stages set up a proportion of topological phases the exceedingly sensitive, and unusual, world of quantum material science. Like the doughnut precedent wherein the number of holes doesn’t change under smooth deformations, topology shows up in the examples of quantum ensnarement in a topological phase. The rule of topological entanglement entropy can identify such cases.

Yale scientists found a discrepancy in the principle that could lead to a false result.

Graduate student Arpit Dua said, “Because of its fundamental nature, this principle has been used extensively in the literature on topological phases.”

“The culprit is a specific kind of hidden string order that crops up in parts of the phase of matter.”

The researchers’ first study points out the discrepancy, explains why it occurs and offers a way to correct for the error — thus making the principle more accurate. In the second study, the researchers look at an essential class of phases where the discrepancy occurs, phases that could be used for making quantum hard drives.

Scientists discuss a quantity that can be used to classify these phases, an amount that is robust to the presence of the hidden string order that affects topological entanglement entropy.

Dua said, “Topological phases represent an important class of phases of matter. Their study and methods for diagnostics are important, and identifying the right diagnostic tools is fundamental.”

The findings appear in a recent study published in the journal Physical Review Letters and a follow-up work published in Physical Review B.


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