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Structure of Entanglement in Fracton Phases of Matter


Shirley, Wilbur Eric (2022) Structure of Entanglement in Fracton Phases of Matter. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/7b2c-2e06.


This thesis discusses recent contributions to the theory of gapped fracton phases of matter, utilizing exactly solvable Hamiltonian models as the primary tool of study. A large component of the work revolves around the notion of a foliation structure, which is a defining feature of the long-range entanglement in certain gapped fracton states. We introduce this concept, identify its presence in a handful of prominent fracton models, and explore its consequences in terms of entanglement entropy and fractional excitations. A second major theme of the thesis is the characterization of gapped fracton states via emergent gauge theories based on discrete subsystem symmetries. We introduce a variety of novel fractonic gauge theories including twisted and fermionic variants, identify their emergence in a bevy of well-known models, and classify them with the use of novel topological invariants. We also establish a link between subsystem symmetry and entanglement renormalization group flow in fractal spin liquids.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:fracton phases of matter
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Physics
Awards:Robert F. Christy Prize for an Outstanding Doctoral Thesis in Theoretical Physics, 2021.
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Chen, Xie
Thesis Committee:
  • Preskill, John P. (chair)
  • Motrunich, Olexei I.
  • Hsieh, David
  • Chen, Xie
Defense Date:23 September 2021
Non-Caltech Author Email:wilbureshirley (AT)
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:05272022-220331463
Persistent URL:
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription adapted for Chapter 2 adapted for Chapter 3 adapted for Chapter 4 adapted for Chapter 5 adapted for Chapter 6 adapted for Chapter 7 adapted for Chapter 9 adapted for Chapter 10
Shirley, Wilbur Eric0000-0002-4970-1460
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:14645
Deposited By: Wilbur Shirley
Deposited On:07 Jun 2022 15:20
Last Modified:28 Feb 2023 19:12

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