Fractional disclination charge in two-dimensional Cn -symmetric topological crystalline insulators

Tianhe Li, Penghao Zhu, Wladimir A. Benalcazar, Taylor L. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Robust fractional charge localized at disclination defects has recently been found as a topological response in C6-symmetric 2D topological crystalline insulators (TCIs). In this article, we thoroughly investigate the fractional charge on disclinations in Cn-symmetric TCIs, with or without time-reversal symmetry, and including spinless and spin-12 cases. We compute the fractional disclination charges from the Wannier representations in real space and use band representation theory to construct topological indices of the fractional disclination charge for all 2D TCIs that admit a (generalized) Wannier representation. We find the disclination charge is fractionalized in units of en for Cn-symmetric TCIs, and for spin-12 TCIs, with additional time-reversal symmetry, the disclination charge is fractionalized in units of 2en. We furthermore prove that with electron-electron interactions that preserve the Cn symmetry and many-body bulk gap, though we can deform a TCI into another which is topologically distinct in the free fermion case, the fractional disclination charge determined by our topological indices will not change in this process. Moreover, we use an algebraic technique to generalize the indices for TCIs with nonzero Chern numbers, where a Wannier representation is not applicable. With the inclusion of the Chern number, our generalized fractional disclination indices apply for all Cn-symmetric TCIs. Finally, we briefly discuss the connection between the Chern number dependence of our generalized indices and the Wen-Zee term.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number115115
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 15 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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