Abstract:
We remark on the claim that the string-net model of Levin and Wen is a microscopic Hamiltonian formulation of the Turaev-Viro topological quantum field theory. Using simple counterexamples we indicate where interesting extra structure may be needed in the Levin-Wen model for this to hold (however we believe that some form of the correspondence is true). In order to be accessible to the condensed matter community we provide a brief and gentle introduction to the relevant concepts in category theory (relying heavily on analogy with ordinary group representation theory). Likewise, some physical ideas are briefly surveyed for the benefit of the more mathematical reader. The main feature of group categories under consideration is Turaev's unimodality. We pinpoint where unimodality should fit into the Levin-Wen construction, and show that the simplest example fails to be unimodal. Unimodality is straightforward to compute for group categories, and we provide a complete classification at the end of the paper.

Abstract:
We construct an explicit renormalization group (RG) transformation for Levin and Wen's string-net models on a hexagonal lattice. The transformation leaves invariant the ground-state "fixed-point" wave function of the string-net condensed phase. Our construction also produces an exact representation of the wave function in terms of the multi-scale entanglement renormalization ansatz (MERA). This sets the stage for efficient numerical simulations of string-net models using MERA algorithms. It also provides an explicit quantum circuit to prepare the string-net ground-state wave function using a quantum computer.

Abstract:
We study the Levin-Wen string-net model with a $Z_N$ type fusion algebra. Solutions of the local constraints of this model correspond to $Z_N$ gauge theory and double Chern-simons theories with quantum groups. For the first time, we explicitly construct a spin-$(N-1)/2$ model with $Z_N$ gauge symmetry on a triangular lattice as an exact dual model of the string-net model with a $Z_N$ type fusion algebra on a honeycomb lattice. This exact duality exists only when the spins are coupled to a $Z_N$ gauge field living on the links of the triangular lattice. The ungauged $Z_N$ lattice spin models are a class of quantum systems that bear symmetry-protected topological phases that may be classified by the third cohomology group $H^3(Z_N,U(1))$ of $Z_N$. Our results apply also to any case where the fusion algebra is identified with a finite group algebra or a quantusm group algebra.

Abstract:
We ask which topological phases can and cannot be realized by exactly soluble string-net models. We answer this question for the simplest class of topological phases, namely those with abelian braiding statistics. Specifically, we find that an abelian topological phase can be realized by a string-net model if and only if (i) it has a vanishing thermal Hall conductance and (ii) it has at least one Lagrangian subgroup --- a subset of quasiparticles with particular topological properties. Equivalently, we find that an abelian topological phase is realizable if and only if it supports a gapped edge. We conjecture that the latter criterion generalizes to the non-abelian case. We establish these results by systematically constructing all possible abelian string-net models and analyzing the quasiparticle braiding statistics in each model. We show that the low energy effective field theories for these models are multicomponent U(1) Chern-Simons theories, and we derive the K-matrix description of each model. An additional feature of this work is that the models we construct are more general than the original string-net models, due to several new ingredients. First, we introduce two new objects $\gamma, \alpha$ into the construction which are related to $\mathbb{Z}_2$ and $\mathbb{Z}_3$ Frobenius-Schur indicators. Second, we do not assume parity invariance. As a result, we can realize topological phases that were not accessible to the original construction, including phases that break time-reversal and parity symmetry.

Abstract:
The structure of string-net lattice models, relevant as examples of topological phases, leads to a remarkably simple way of expressing their ground states as a tensor network constructed from the basic data of the underlying tensor categories. The construction highlights the importance of the fat lattice to understand these models.

Abstract:
In this paper, we describe the relation between the Turaev--Viro TQFT and the string-net space introduced in the papers of Levin and Wen. In particular, the case of surfaces with boundary is considered in detail.

Abstract:
We consider the non-equilibrium dynamics of topologically ordered systems driven across a continuous phase transition into proximate phases with no, or reduced, topological order. This dynamics exhibits scaling in the spirit of Kibble and Zurek but now {\it without} the presence of symmetry breaking and a local order parameter. The late stages of the process are seen to exhibit a slow, coarsening dynamics for the string-net that underlies the physics of the topological phase, a potentially interesting signature of topological order. We illustrate these phenomena in the context of particular phase transitions out of the abelian Z_2 topologically ordered phase of the toric code/Z_2 gauge theory, and the non-abelian SU(2)$_k$ ordered phases of the relevant Levin-Wen models.

Abstract:
String-net models allow us to systematically construct and classify 2+1D topologically ordered states which can have gapped boundaries. We can use a simple ideal string-net wavefunction, which is described by a set of F-matrices [or more precisely, a unitary fusion category (UFC)], to study all the universal properties of such a topological order. In this paper, we describe a finite computational method -- Q-algebra approach, that allows us to compute the non-Abelian statistics of the topological excitations [or more precisely, the unitary modular tensor category (UMTC)], from the string-net wavefunction (or the UFC). We discuss several examples, including the topological phases described by twisted gauge theory (i.e., twisted quantum double $D^\alpha(G)$). Our result can also be viewed from an angle of holographic bulk-boundary relation. The 1+1D anomalous topological orders, that can appear as edges of 2+1D topological states, are classified by UFCs which describe the fusion of quasiparticles in 1+1D. The 1+1D anomalous edge topological order uniquely determines the 2+1D bulk topological order (which are classified by UMTC). Our method allows us to compute this bulk topological order (i.e., the UMTC) from the anomalous edge topological order (i.e., the UFC).

Abstract:
We propose a new discrete model---the twisted quantum double model---of 2D topological phases based on a finite group $G$ and a 3-cocycle $\alpha$ over $G$. The detailed properties of the ground states are studied, and we find that the ground--state subspace can be characterized in terms of the twisted quantum double $D^{\alpha}(G)$ of $G$. When $\alpha$ is the trivial 3-cocycle, the model becomes Kitaev's quantum double model based on the finite group $G$, in which the elementary excitations are known to be classified by the quantum double $D(G)$ of $G$. Our model can be viewed as a Hamiltonian extension of the Dijkgraaf--Witten topological gauge theories to the discrete graph case with gauge group being a finite group. We also demonstrate a duality between a large class of Levin-Wen string-net models and certain twisted quantum double models, by mapping the string--net 6j symbols to the corresponding 3-cocycles. The paper is presented in a way such that it is accessible to a wide range of physicists.

Abstract:
We review the key steps of the construction of Levin-Wen type of models on lattices with boundaries and defects of codimension 1,2,3 in a joint work with Alexei Kitaev. We emphasize some universal properties, such as boundary-bulk duality and duality-defect correspondence, shared by all these models. New results include a detailed analysis of the local properties of a boundary excitation and a conjecture on the functoriality of the monoidal center.