Quantum Criticality in an Ising Chain: Experimental Evidence for Emergent E_{8} Symmetry
Abstract
Quantum phase transitions take place between distinct phases of matter at zero temperature. Near the transition point, exotic quantum symmetries can emerge that govern the excitation spectrum of the system. A symmetry described by the E_{8} Lie group with a spectrum of eight particles was long predicted to appear near the critical point of an Ising chain. We realize this system experimentally by using strong transverse magnetic fields to tune the quasionedimensional Ising ferromagnet CoNb_{2}O_{6} (cobalt niobate) through its critical point. Spin excitations are observed to change character from pairs of kinks in the ordered phase to spinflips in the paramagnetic phase. Just below the critical field, the spin dynamics shows a fine structure with two sharp modes at low energies, in a ratio that approaches the golden mean predicted for the first two meson particles of the E_{8} spectrum. Our results demonstrate the power of symmetry to describe complex quantum behaviors.
 Publication:

Science
 Pub Date:
 January 2010
 DOI:
 10.1126/science.1180085
 arXiv:
 arXiv:1103.3694
 Bibcode:
 2010Sci...327..177C
 Keywords:

 PHYSICS;
 Condensed Matter  Strongly Correlated Electrons
 EPrint:
 18 pages with embedded figures