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Publication# General coordinate invariance in quantum many-body systems

Abstract

We extend the notion of general coordinate invariance to many-body, not necessarily relativistic, systems. As an application, we investigate nonrelativistic general covariance in Galilei-invariant systems. The peculiar transformation rules for the background metric and gauge fields, first introduced by Son and Wingate in 2005 and refined in subsequent works, follow naturally from our framework. Our approach makes it clear that Galilei or Poincare symmetry is by no means a necessary prerequisite for making the theory invariant under coordinate diffeomorphisms. General covariance merely expresses the freedom to choose spacetime coordinates at will, whereas the true, physical symmetries of the system can be separately implemented as "internal" symmetries within the vielbein formalism. A systematic way to implement such symmetries is provided by the coset construction. We illustrate this point by applying our formalism to nonrelativistic s-wave superfluids.

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Solomon G Shamsuddin Osman Endlich

We show that it is not possible to UV complete certain low-energy effective theories with spontaneously broken spacetime symmetries by embedding them into linear sigma models, that is, by adding "radial" modes and restoring the broken symmetries. When such a UV completion is not possible, one can still raise the cutoff up to arbitrarily higher energies by adding fields that transform nonlinearly under the broken symmetries, that is, new Goldstone bosons. However, this (partial) UV completion does not necessarily restore any of the broken symmetries. We illustrate this point by considering a concrete example in which a combination of spacetime and internal symmetries is broken down to a diagonal subgroup. Along the way, we clarify a recently proposed interpretation of inverse Higgs constraints as gauge-fixing conditions.

Symmetries are omnipresent and play a fundamental role in the description of Nature. Thanks to them, we have at our disposal nontrivial selection rules that dictate how a theory should be constructed. This thesis, which is naturally divided into two parts, is devoted to the broad physical implications that spacetime symmetries can have on the systems that posses them. In the first part, we focus on local symmetries. We review in detail the techniques of a self-consistent framework -- the coset construction -- that we employed in order to discuss the dynamics of the theories of interest. The merit of this approach lies in that we can make the (spacetime) symmetry group act internally and thus, be effectively separated from coordinate transformations. We investigate under which conditions it is not needed to introduce extra compensating fields to make relativistic as well as nonrelativistic theories invariant under local spacetime symmetries and more precisely under scale (Weyl) transformations. In addition, we clarify the role that the field strength associated with shifts (torsion) plays in this context. We also highlight the difference between the frequently mixed concepts of Weyl and conformal invariance and we demonstrate that not all conformal theories (in flat or curved spacetime), can be coupled to gravity in a Weyl invariant way. Once this ``minimalistic'' treatment for gauging symmetries is left aside, new possibilities appear. Namely, if we consider the Poincar'e group, the presence of the compensating modes leads to nontrivial particle dynamics. We investigate in detail their behavior and we derive constraints such that the theory is free from pathologies. In the second part of the thesis, we make clear that even when not gauged, the presence of spontaneously broken (global) scale invariance can be quite appealing. First of all, it makes possible for the various dimensionful parameters that appear in a theory to be generated dynamically and be sourced by the vacuum expectation value of the Goldstone boson of the nonlinearly realized symmetry -- the dilaton. If the Standard Model of particle physics is embedded into a scale-invariant framework, a number of interesting implications for cosmology arise. As it turns out, the early inflationary stage of our Universe and its present-day acceleration become linked, a connection that might give us some insight into the dark energy dynamics. Moreover, we show that in the context of gravitational theories which are invariant under restricted coordinate transformations, the dilaton instead of being introduced ad hoc, can emerge from the gravitational part of a theory. Finally, we discuss the consequences of the nontrivial way this field emerges in the action.

Solitons are stable, non-singular solutions to the classical equations of motion of non-linear field theory. Their energy is localized and finite and their shape remains unaltered during propagation. For this reason they represent particle-like states in field theory. Their mass and their size can be very large compared to those of the elementary particles in the theory. Therefore, a soliton can be viewed as a single particle-like object containing a large number of individual particles. The chiral Abelian Higgs model contains an interesting class of non-topological solitons, that carry a non-zero fermion number NF or Chern-Simons number NCS, which is the same because of the chiral anomaly. They consist of a bosonic configuration of gauge and Higgs fields characterized by NCS and are stable for sufficiently large NCS. In the first part of this thesis we study the properties of these anomalous solitons. We find that their energy-versus-fermion-number ratio is given by E ∼ NCS3/4 or E ∼ NCS2/3 depending on the structure of the scalar potential. For the former case we prove, using some inequalities from functional analysis, that there is a lower bound on the soliton energy, which reads E ≥ c NCS3/4 , where c is some parameter expressed through the masses and coupling constants of the theory. We construct the anomalous solitons numerically for two different choices for the potential accounting both for Higgs and gauge dynamics. Solutions are obtained as a function of NCS and the Higgs mass mH and we find that they are not spherically symmetric. In addition, we outline a relation between the structure of anomalous Abelian solitons and the intermediate state observed in type-I superconductors in external magnetic fields. In the limit of large NCS anomalous solitons can be described in the thin wall approximation, which allows us to remove the Higgs field from consideration. For absolute stability of anomalous solitons, it is essential that the gauge group is Abelian. If the gauge group is non-Abelian, fermions can always be converted to a gauge vacuum configuration with an arbitrary integer NCS. Therefore, if anomalous non-Abelian solitons exist, they could only be metastable. Interestingly, anomalous solitons can potentially exist in the electroweak theory, because this theory contains all necessary ingredients, namely chiral fermions and an Abelian gauge symmetry. In the second part of this thesis we investigate this possibility. Using the numerical solutions for anomalous Abelian solitons as a starting point, we construct the corresponding numerical solutions in electroweak theory. These solutions have a similar structure as the Abelian solitons with the Abelian gauge field replaced by the Z boson field. The charged boson fields W± vanish identically. However, for weak mixing angle θω > 0, the solutions have an associated magnetic field as well, that can be characterized by a magnetic dipole moment mem. Furthermore, the shape of the solutions and the structure of the gauge fields depend on θω. In the last part of this work we analyze the classical stability of the numerical solutions in the electroweak case. It is clear that the solutions are stable in the semilocal limit sin θω → 1, where the Abelian case is reproduced exactly. For arbitrary θω, we consider perturbations in the Higgs field and in the gauge fields Z and A and show that the solutions are stable with respect to these perturbations. For small θω however, the solutions are unstable with respect to the formation of a condensate of charged boson fields W± in the centre of the solution. This W-condensation instability is essentially the same, which also destabilizes the Z-string solution of electroweak theory.