Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Vivian de la Incera

Committee Members

Efrain Ferrer

Sarang Gopalakrishnan

Daniel Kabat

Charles Liu

Subject Categories



chiral condensates, dense QCD, chiral density waves, MDCDW, LP instability


The correct description of strongly interacting matter at extreme densities and low temperatures remains poorly understood. We analyze the magnetic dual chiral density wave (MDCDW) phase, an inhomogeneous chiral condensate that arises in cold, dense quark matter in a magnetic field. We first review the background theory and derive the free energy of the condensate. Then we show how the phase transitions can be studied using a generalized Ginzburg-Landau expansion, and we derive a convenient all-orders formula for the coefficients. Using these tools, we compute the order parameters, critical temperature, and threshold temperature over a range of chemical potentials and magnetic field strengths. The magnetic field significantly enhances the window of parameter space where the condensate is energetically favored over the chirally symmetric ground state, and it also stabilizes the condensate against thermal fluctuations. We discuss the physical mechanisms by which the magnetic field affects the order parameters and stability, especially highlighting the role of the nontrivial topology related to an asymmetry in the lowest Landau levels. We conclude that because of MDCDW’s resilience against large temperatures, densities, and thermal fluctuations, it is emerging as an increasingly plausible candidate for the matter structure in the cores of compact stars.

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