Quantum Critical Phenomena in an $O(4)$ Fermion Chain

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2020 January 04

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Abstract

We construct a fermionic lattice model containing interacting spin-$\frac{1}{2}$ fermions with an $O(4)$ symmetry. In addition the model contains a $\mathbb{Z}_2$ chiral symmetry which prevents a fermion mass term. Our model is motivated by the ability to study its physics using the meron-cluster algorithm. By adding a strong repulsive Hubbard interaction $U$, we can transform it into the regular Heisenberg anti-ferromagnet. While we can study our model in any dimension, as a first project we study it in one spatial dimension. We discover that our model at $U=0$ can be described as a lattice-regularized 2-flavor Gross-Neveu model, where fermions become massive since the $\mathbb{Z}_2$ chiral symmetry of the model is spontaneously broken. We show numerically that the theory remains massive when $U$ is small. At large values of $U$ the model is equivalent to the isotropic spin-half anti-ferromagnetic chain, which is massless for topological reasons. This implies that our model has a quantum phase transition from a $\mathbb{Z}_2$ broken massive phase to a topologically massless phase as we increase $U$. We present results obtained from our quantum Monte Carlo method near this phase transition.

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