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Topological and Emergent Phenomena in Lattice BKT Systems

Faulkner, M; (2015) Topological and Emergent Phenomena in Lattice BKT Systems. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis addresses the emergent electrostatics of two-dimensional, toroidal magnetic models that possess XY symmetry, providing a platform for novel investigations into the Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless (BKT) phase transition. The BKT transition drives the thermal dissociation of bound pairs of topological defects in many two-dimensional systems, including the two-dimensional XY model of magnetism. The XY model is closely analogous to the two-dimensional Coulomb gas, but can be simulated without computing the long-range interactions of the Coulombic system. This thesis elucidates this paradox by showing that Villain's approximation to the XY model is strictly equivalent to the Maggs-Rossetto (MR) electrostatic model when applied to the two-dimensional Coulomb gas. The mapping is used to probe the BKT transition through the application of the MR algorithm to the two-dimensional Coulomb gas. By simulating the Coulombic system, fluctuations in the winding of charges around the torus are shown to turn on at the BKT transition temperature. These topological-sector fluctuations in the electric field therefore signal the high-temperature phase of the transition. It is then shown that the effective critical exponent of Bramwell-Holdsworth (BH) theory can be measured in superfluid $^4$He films, which correspond to effective Coulomb gases in the limit of large but finite system size. With the Coulombic system taken as the base BKT system, it is inferred that BH theory is a general property of BKT systems.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Topological and Emergent Phenomena in Lattice BKT Systems
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1466258
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