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Variational studies of exotic Bose liquid, spin liquid, and magnetic phases

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  • Physics


The strong interest in strongly correlated systems in condensed matter physics has continued unabated for the past few decades. In recent years, the number of novel, exotic quantum phases found in theoretical studies has seen a phenomenal rise. Among those interesting quantum states are bose liquids and spin liquids, where strong quantum fluctuations have prevented the systems from developing a long range order. Our work in this thesis seeks to further the understanding of frustrated systems. In the study of a hard-core boson model with ring-only exchange interactions on a square lattice, we obtain concrete numerical realization of the unconventional Exciton Bose Liquid (EBL) phase, which possesses interesting properties such as a ``Bose surface'' which resembles the Fermi surface in a metal, as well as unusual thermodynamic properties such as a $T\log T$ dependence for specific heat. An equally important result from this work is the demonstration that the widely used Gutzwiller projection on slave-particle wave functions may generally fail to capture the correct long wavelength physics in the respective systems. For the Heisenberg antiferromagnet on the kagome lattice, which is a promising candidate for realizing a spin-disordered ground state, our variational study shows that the projected Schwinger boson wave function is energetically better than the Dirac spin liquid wave function when a small antiferromagnetic second-neighbor spin coupling is added to the nearest-neighbor model. We also study the anisotropic triangular Heisenberg antiferromagnetic in magnetic field, and find simple, yet accurate wave functions for various regions of the surprisingly rich phase diagram, thus providing insights into the energetics of the competing phases in this interesting model. Finally, our work also highlights permanent-type wave functions as potentially useful constructions in variational studies of systems with short-ranged correlations, e.g., a Mott insulator and a gapped spin liquid.

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