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Interferometric geometry from symmetry-broken Uhlmann gauge group with applications to topological phase transitions

Silva, H. S. ; Paunkovic, N. ; Mera, B.

Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics Vol. 103, Nº 8, pp. 085127-01 - 085127-14, February, 2021.

ISSN (print): 1098-0121
ISSN (online):

Journal Impact Factor: 3,736 (in 2014)

Digital Object Identifier: 10.1103/PhysRevB.103.085127

We provide a natural generalization of a Riemannian structure, i.e., a metric, recently introduced by Sjöqvist for the space of nondegenerate density matrices, to the degenerate case, i.e., the case in which the eigenspaces have dimension greater than or equal to 1. We present a physical interpretation of the metric in terms of an interferometric measurement. We apply this metric, physically interpreted as an interferometric susceptibility, to the study of topological phase transitions at finite temperatures for band insulators. We compare the behaviors of this susceptibility and the one coming from the well-known Bures metric, showing them to be dramatically different. While both infer zero-temperature phase transitions, only the former predicts finite-temperature phase transitions as well. The difference in behaviors can be traced back to a symmetry-breaking mechanism, akin to Landau-Ginzburg theory, by which the Uhlmann gauge group is broken down to a subgroup determined by the type of the system's density matrix (i.e., the ranks of its spectral projectors).