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Entanglement-enabled symmetry-breaking orders

Cheng-Ju Lin, Liujun Zou

SciPost Phys. Core 7, 010 (2024) · published 11 March 2024


A spontaneous symmetry-breaking order is conventionally described by a tensor-product wavefunction of some few-body clusters; some standard examples include the simplest ferromagnets and valence bond solids. We discuss a type of symmetry-breaking orders, dubbed entanglement-enabled symmetry-breaking orders, which cannot be realized by any such tensor-product state. Given a symmetry breaking pattern, we propose a criterion to diagnose if the symmetry-breaking order is entanglement-enabled, by examining the compatibility between the symmetries and the tensor-product description. For concreteness, we present an infinite family of exactly solvable gapped models on one-dimensional lattices with nearest-neighbor interactions, whose ground states exhibit entanglement-enabled symmetry-breaking orders from a discrete symmetry breaking. In addition, these ground states have gapless edge modes protected by the unbroken symmetries. We also propose a construction to realize entanglement-enabled symmetry-breaking orders with spontaneously broken continuous symmetries. Under the unbroken symmetries, some of our examples can be viewed as symmetry-protected topological states that are beyond the conventional classifications.

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