Corner modes and ground-state degeneracy in models with gaugelike subsystem symmetries

Julian May-Mann, Taylor L. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Subsystem symmetries are intermediate between global and gauge symmetries. One can treat these symmetries either like global symmetries that act on subregions of a system, or gauge symmetries that act on the regions transverse to the regions acted upon by the symmetry. We show that this latter interpretation can lead to an understanding of global, topology-dependent features in systems with subsystem symmetries. We demonstrate this with an exactly solvable lattice model constructed from a two-dimensional system of bosons coupled to a vector field with a one-dimensional subsystem symmetry. The model is shown to host a robust ground-state degeneracy that depends on the spatial topology of the underlying manifold, and localized zero-energy modes on corners of the system. A continuum field theory description of these phenomena is derived in terms of an anisotropic, modified version of the Abelian K-matrix Chern-Simons field theory. We show that this continuum description can lead to geometric-type effects such as corner states and edge states whose character depends on the orientation of the edge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number165108
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number16
StatePublished - Oct 4 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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