An introduction to spin systems for mathematicians.
We give a leisurely, albeit woefully incomplete, overview of quantum field theory, its relevance to condensed matter systems, and spin systems, which proceeds via a series of illustrative examples. The goal is to provide readers from the mathematics community a swift route into recent condensed matter literature that makes use of topological quantum field theory and ideas from stable homotopy theory to attack the problem of classification of topological (or SPT) phases of matter. The toric code and Heisenberg spin chain are briefly discussed; important conceptual ideas in physics, that may have somehow evaded discussion for those with purely mathematical training, are also reviewed. Emphasis is placed on the connection between (algebras of) nonlocal operators and the appearance of nontrivial TQFTs in the infrared.
Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1801.07270
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