Topological terms in abelian lattice field theories
2020 January 04
In this contribution we revisit the lattice discretization of the topological charge for abelian lattice field theories. The construction departs from an initially non-compact discretization of the gauge fields and after absorbing $2\pi$ shifts of the gauge fields leads to a generalized Villain action that also includes the topological term. The topological charge in two, as well as in four dimensions can be expressed in terms of only the integer-valued Villain variables. We test various properties of the topological charge and in particular analyze the index theorem in two dimensions and discuss the Witten effect in 4-d. As an application of our formulation we present results from a simulation of the 2-d U(1) gauge Higgs model at vacuum angle $\theta = \pi$, where we use a suitable worldline/worldsheet representation to overcome the complex action problem at non-zero $\theta$.