Past Event

Philip Phillips - University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

March 23, 2020
12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
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Pupin Hall Theory Center (8th Floor)

"Does Noether's Second Theorem Imply  Hidden Extra Dimensions in the Cuprates?"

For the past 30 years, the transport properties in the unusual metallic phase seen in the cuprate superconductors and many other quantum critical metals, have defied an explanation in terms of the standard building blocks of modern physics --- particles with local interactions and conservation laws. A recent proposal suggests that all of the properties of such `strange metals' can be understood if the current has an anomalous dimension not determined simply by dimensional analysis. My talk will focus on trying to understand this claim. To demystify this claim, I will first show that even in the standard formulation of electricity and magnetism, there is an extra degree of freedom, which has remained unnoticed until now, that can allow, in principle, for the current to have any allowable dimension.  This extra degree of freedom is a consequence of Noether's Second Theorem.  However, I will show that the  only quantum theories to date which exhibit such odd behaviour are holographic models that are derived from a gravity theory that lives in higher dimensions. The existence of currents having anomalous dimensions, a direct probe of the existence of extra `hidden' dimensions,  can be tested with the Aharonov-Bohm effect.  I will describe this effect and its potential impact for unlocking the secret of the strange metal in the cuprates.

1.) G. La Nave, K. Limtragool, P. W. Phillips, Rev. Mod. Phys., vol. 91, 021003 (2019). 
2.) G. La Nave and P. W. Phillips, Comm. Math. Physics, 366(1), 119-137 (2019).

Professor Phillips is a theoretical condensed matter physicist who has an international reputation for his work on transport in disordered and strongly correlated low-dimensional systems. He is the inventor of various models for Bose metals, Mottness, and the random dimer model, which exhibits extended states in one dimension, thereby representing an exception to the localization theorem of Anderson's.

His research focuses sharply on explaining current experimental observations that challenge the standard paradigms of electron transport and magnetism in solid state physics. Departures from paradigms tell us that there is much to learn. Such departures are expected to occur in the presence of strong-electron interactions, disorder, and in the vicinity of zero-temperature quantum critical points. The common question posed by experiments that probe such physics is quite general. Simply, how do strong Coulomb interactions and disorder conspire to mediate zero-temperature states of matter? It is precisely the strongly interacting electron problem or any strongly coupled problem for that matter, such as quark confinement, that represents one of the yet-unconquered frontiers in physics. Understanding the physics of strong coupling is Phillips' primary focus.