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Topologically stable ergodicity breaking from emergent higher-form symmetries in generalized quantum loop models

by Charles Stahl, Rahul Nandkishore, Oliver Hart

This Submission thread is now published as

Submission summary

Authors (as registered SciPost users): Oliver Hart · Rahul Nandkishore · Charles Stahl
Submission information
Preprint Link: scipost_202312_00049v1  (pdf)
Date accepted: 2024-01-15
Date submitted: 2023-12-28 15:13
Submitted by: Stahl, Charles
Submitted to: SciPost Physics
Ontological classification
Academic field: Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics - Theory
Approach: Theoretical


We present a set of generalized quantum loop models which provably exhibit topologically stable ergodicity breaking. These results hold for both periodic and open boundary conditions, and derive from a one-form symmetry (notably not being restricted to sectors of extremal one-form charge). We identify simple models in which this one-form symmetry can be emergent, giving rise to the aforementioned ergodicity breaking as an exponentially long-lived prethermal phenomenon. We unveil a web of dualities that connects these models, in certain limits, to models that have previously been discussed in the literature. We also identify nonlocal conserved quantities in such models that correspond to a pattern of system-spanning domain walls, and which are robust to the addition of arbitrary $k$-local perturbations.

Author comments upon resubmission

Dear Editors,

We thank you for arranging the review of this manuscript. We are pleased that all three referees liked our manuscript and recommended publication, pending some minor changes. We have modified our manuscript to address the requests of the referees and we trust that it will now be judged suitable for publication. A detailed response to each referee follows below.


Charles Stahl, Rahul Nandkishore and Oliver Hart

List of changes

1. We have added a paragraph to the conclusions to discuss the connections between ergodicity breaking and higher-form symmetries.
2. We have added a new Appendix (Appendix C) discussing whether fragmentation in the model is weak or strong.

Published as SciPost Phys. 16, 068 (2024)

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