Simulating higher-order topological insulators in density wave insulators

Kuan Sen Lin, Barry Bradlyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since the discovery of the Harper-Hofstadter model, it has been known that condensed matter systems with periodic modulations can be promoted to nontrivial topological states with emergent gauge fields in higher dimensions. In this paper, we develop a general procedure to compute the gauge fields in higher dimensions associated to low-dimensional systems with periodic (charge- and spin-) density wave modulations. We construct two-dimensional (2D) models with modulations that can be promoted to higher-order topological phases with U(1) and SU(2) gauge fields in 3D. Corner modes in our 2D models can be pumped by adiabatic sliding of the phase of the modulation, yielding hinge modes in the promoted models. We also examine a 3D Weyl semimetal (WSM) gapped by charge-density wave (CDW) order, possessing quantum anomalous Hall surface states. We show that this 3D system is equivalent to a 4D nodal line system gapped by a U(1) gauge field with a nonzero second Chern number. We explain the recently identified interpolation between inversion-symmetry protected phases of the 3D WSM gapped by CDWs using the corresponding 4D theory. Our results can extend the search for (higher-order) topological states in higher dimensions to density wave systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number245107
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number24
StatePublished - Jun 15 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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