A theory of 2+1D bosonic topological orders

Xiao-Gang Wen
2015 National Science Review  
In primary school, we were told that there are four phases of matter: solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. In college, we learned that there are much more than four phases of matter, such as hundreds of crystal phases, liquid crystal phases, ferromagnet, anti-ferromagnet, superfluid, etc. Those phases of matter are so rich, it is amazing that they can be understood systematically by the symmetry breaking theory of Landau. However, there are even more interesting phases of matter that are beyond
more » ... hat are beyond Landau symmetry breaking theory. In this paper, we review new "topological" phenomena, such as topological degeneracy, that reveal the existence of those new zero-temperature phases -- topologically ordered phases. Microscopically, topologically orders are originated from the patterns of long-range entanglement in the ground states. As a truly new type of order and a truly new kind of phenomena, topological order and long-range entanglement require a new language and a new mathematical framework, such as unitary fusion category and modular tensor category to describe them. In this paper, we will describe a simple mathematical framework based on measurable quantities of topological orders $(S,T,c)$ proposed around 1989. The framework allows us to systematically describe/classify 2+1D topological orders (ie topological orders in local bosonic/spin/qubit systems)..
doi:10.1093/nsr/nwv077 fatcat:rq6ehrhud5d7djrq2r2xjfglei