Quantum phases and phase transitions of Mott insulators

  • Subir Sachdev
Part of the Lecture Notes in Physics book series (LNP, volume 645)


This article contains a theoretical overview of the physical properties of antiferromagnetic Mott insulators in spatial dimensions greater than one. Many such materials have been experimentally studied in the past decade and a half, and we make contact with these studies. Mott insulators in the simplest class have an even number of S=1/2 spins per unit cell, and these can be described with quantitative accuracy by the bond operator method: we discuss their spin gap and magnetically ordered states, and the transitions between them driven by pressure or an applied magnetic field. The case of an odd number of S=1/2 spins per unit cell is more subtle: here the spin gap state can spontaneously develop bond order (so the ground state again has an even number of S=1/2 spins per unit cell), and/or acquire topological order and fractionalized excitations. We describe the conditions under which such spin gap states can form, and survey recent theories of the quantum phase transitions among these states and magnetically ordered states. We describe the breakdown of the Landau-Ginzburg-Wilson paradigm at these quantum critical points, accompanied by the appearance of emergent gauge excitations.


Bond Order Gauge Field Quantum Phasis Quantum Phase Transition Paramagnetic Phase 
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© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Subir Sachdev
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysicsYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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