Non-Abelian bosonization and modular transformation approach to superuniversality

Aaron Hui, Eun Ah Kim, Michael Mulligan

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19 Scopus citations


Quantum Hall inter-plateau transitions are physical exemplars of quantum phase transitions. Near each of these transitions, the measured electrical conductivity scales with the same correlation length and dynamical critical exponents, i.e., the critical points are superuniversal. In apparent contradiction to these experiments, prior theoretical studies of quantum Hall phase transitions within the framework of Abelian Chern-Simons theory coupled to matter found correlation length exponents that depend on the value of the quantum critical Hall conductivity. Here, we use non-Abelian bosonization and modular transformations to theoretically study the phenomenon of superuniversality. Specifically, we introduce a new effective theory that has an emergent U(N) gauge symmetry with any N>1 for a quantum phase transition between an integer quantum Hall state and an insulator. We then use modular transformations to generate from this theory effective descriptions for transitions between a large class of fractional quantum Hall states whose quasiparticle excitations have Abelian statistics. We find the correlation length and dynamical critical exponents are independent of the particular transition within a controlled 't Hooft large N expansion, i.e., superuniversal! We argue that this superuniversality could survive away from this controlled large N limit using recent duality conjectures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number125135
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number12
StatePublished - 20 Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
A.H. was supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship under Grant No. DGE-1650441. E.-A.K. was supported by the US Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Division of Materials Science and Engineering under Award de-sc0010313. M.M. was supported in part by the UCR Academic Senate. M.M. is grateful for the hospitality of the Aspen Center for Physics, which is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant No. PHY-1607611. The authors are grateful for the hospitality of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, under Grant No. NSF PHY-1125915.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Physical Society.


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