This is a conceptual paper that re-examines the principles underlying the application of renormalization theory to quantum phase transitions in the light of quantum information theory. We start by describing the intuitive argument known as the Kadanoff ``block-spin'' construction for spins fixed on a lattice and then outline some subsequent ideas by Wilson and White. We then reconstruct these concepts for quantum phase transitions from first principles. This new perspective offers some very natural explanations for some features of renormalization theory that had previously seemed rather mysterious, even contrived. It also offers some suggestions as to how we might modify renormalization methods to make them more successful. We then discuss some possible order parameters and a class of functionals that are analogues of the correlation length in such systems.
- Pub Date:
- May 2004
- Quantum Physics
- 23 pages RevTeX, with 6 figures in encapsulated PostScript. Feedback welcome. (If the paper prints with a vertical displacement, there's a \voffset command in the topmatter that will fix this.) v2: improvements in the renormalization procedure and references added