Dynamical stability of the quantum Lifshitz theory in 2+1 dimensions

Benjamin Hsu, Eduardo Fradkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The roles of magnetic and electric perturbations in the quantum Lifshitz model in 2+1 dimensions are examined in this paper. The quantum Lifshitz model is an effective field theory for quantum multicritical systems, which include generalized two-dimensional (2D) quantum dimer models in bipartite lattices and their generalizations. It describes a class of quantum phase transitions between ordered and topological phases in 2+1 dimensions. Magnetic perturbations break the dimer conservation law. Electric excitations, the condensation of which leads to ordered phases, have been studied extensively both in the classical three-dimensional model and in the quantum 2D model. The role of magnetic vortex excitations, the condensation of which drives these systems into a Z 2 topological phase, has been largely ignored. Recent numerical studies claim that the quantum theory has a peculiar feature: the dynamical exponent z flows continuously and the quantum theory is hence unstable to magnetic vortices. To study the interplay of both excitations, we perform a perturbative renormalization group study to one-loop order and study the stability of the theory away from quantum multicriticality. This is done by generalizing the operator-product expansion to anisotropic models. It is found that the dynamical exponent does not appear to flow, in contrast to the classical Monte Carlo study. Possible reasons for this difference are discussed at length.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number085102
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Feb 4 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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