Topological spin excitations in Harper-Heisenberg spin chains

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  • Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, Zürich

Abstract

Many-body spin systems represent a paradigmatic platform for the realization of emergent states of matter in a strongly interacting regime. Spin models are commonly studied in one-dimensional periodic chains, whose lattice constant is on the order of the interatomic distance. However, in cold atomic setups or functionalized twisted van der Waals heterostructures, long-range modulations of the spin physics can be engineered. Here we show that such superlattice modulations in a many-body spin Hamiltonian can give rise to observable topological boundary modes in the excitation spectrum of the spin chain. In the case of an XY spin-1/2 chain, these boundary modes stem from a mathematical correspondence with the chiral edge modes of a two-dimensional quantum Hall state. Our results show that the addition of many-body interactions does not close some of the topological gaps in the excitation spectrum, and the topological boundary modes visibly persist in the isotropic Heisenberg limit. These observations carry through when the spin moment is increased and a large-spin limit of the phenomenon is established. Our results show that such spin superlattices provide a promising route to observe many-body topological boundary effects in cold atomic setups and functionalized twisted van der Waals materials.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article number033009
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalPHYSICAL REVIEW RESEARCH
Volume1
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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