Date of Degree

10-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Physics

Advisor

Alexander Punnoose

Subject Categories

Condensed Matter Physics | Physics

Keywords

exciton, intraband fermion excitation, quantum phase transition, time-reversal

Abstract

The discovery of high temperature superconductivity inspired a number of novel proposals, one of which, put forward by C.M.Varma, involves the breaking of time-reversal symmetry to explain the physics of the underdoped pseudogap phase. It was proposed that time-reversal symmetry is spontaneously broken as a result of strong repulsion between the Cu-O electrons to form loop-currents in the system.

In this work, we developed a general theory to study the quantum phase transitions in the 2 dimensional strongly interacting electronic systems in which time-reversal symmetry is spontaneously broken in the ground state. We first applied the theory of magnetic groups to identify electronic current-loop patterns in two physically relevant systems: (i) 2-band model involving spinless electrons on a honeycomb lattice with next-nearest-neighbor interactions; (ii) 3-band $CuO_{2}$ model with and without lattice distortions. Next, by examining the correlation function within the standard ring and ladder Dyson series approximations, we identify the effective Hamiltonian with the relevant interactions responsible for creating low-energy fluctuations near the quantum critical point. The mean-field analysis of this effective Hamiltonian elucidated the fact that time-reversal symmetry breaking in a 2-band model is in the same universality class as the interband particle-hole pair condensation instability which occurs in the semi-conductors under large enough particle-hole attraction. Using Hubbard-Stratonovich transformation and functional integral method, we are able to investigate this instability and the static susceptibility in the condensed phase both in half-filling and doped case. Away from half-filling, because the condensates are metallic and couple to the gapless collective intraband particle-hole excitations, we find that the static susceptibility is generically negative as a result of this coupling, which implies that the condensates are unstable.

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