Abstract:
Following the recent realization of an artificial version of Graphene in the electronic surface states of copper with judiciously placed carbon monoxide molecules inducing the honeycomb lattice symmetry (K. K. Gomes et al., Nature 483, 306 (2012)), we demonstrate that these can be used to realize a vortex in a Kekule texture of the honeycomb lattice. The Kekule texture is mathematically analogous to a superconducting order parameter, opening a spectral gap in the massless Dirac point spectrum of the Graphene structure. The core of a vortex in the texture order parameter, supports subgap states, which for this system are analogs of Majorana fermions in some superconducting states. In particular, the electron charge bound to a single vortex core is effectively fractionalized to a charge of $e/2$. The Kekule texture as realized in the molecular Graphene system realizes 3 different domain types, and we show that a Y-junction between them realizes the coveted Kekule vortex.

Abstract:
The strong topological insulator in 3D is expected to realize a quantized magneto-electric response, the so-called axion response. However, many of the materials predicted to be topological insulators have turned out to be metallic, with bulk Fermi surfaces. Following the result of Bergman et al. (Phys. Rev. B 82, 195417 (2010)) that the helical surface states of the topological insulator persist even when the band structure gap is closed, we explore the fate of the magneto-electric response in such systems. We find a non-quantized magneto-electric coupling remains once a bulk Fermi surface opens - a non-universal axion response. More generally we find that higher dimensional analogs of the intrinsic anomalous Hall effect appear for \emph{every} Chern form - non-quantized response coefficients for gapless systems, as opposed to quantized transport coefficients in gapped systems, both with a topological origin. In particular, the non-quantized magneto-electric response in 3D descends from the intrinsic anomalous Hall effect analog in 4D.

Abstract:
In the flurry of experiments looking for topological insulator materials, it has been recently discovered that some bulk metals very close to topological insulator electronic states, support the same topological surface states that are the defining characteristic of the topological insulator. First observed in spin-polarized ARPES in Sb (D. Hsieh et al. Science 323, 919 (2009)), the helical surface states in the metallic systems appear to be robust to at least mild disorder. We present here a theoretical investigation of the nature of these "helical metals" - bulk metals with helical surface states. We explore how the surface and bulk states can mix, in both clean and disordered systems. Using the Fano model, we discover that in a clean system, the helical surface states are \emph{not} simply absorbed by hybridization with a non-topological parasitic metallic band. Instead, they are pushed away from overlapping in momentum and energy with the bulk states, leaving behind a finite-lifetime surface resonance in the bulk energy band. Furthermore, the hybridization may lead in some cases to multiplied surface state bands, in all cases retaining the helical characteristic. Weak disorder leads to very similar effects - surface states are pushed away from the energy bandwidth of the bulk, leaving behind a finite-lifetime surface resonance in place of the original surface states.

Abstract:
We show that the magneto-electric coupling in 3D (strong) topological insulators is related to a second derivative of the bulk magnetization. The formula we derive is the non-linear response analog of the Streda formula for Hall conductivity (P. Streda, J. Phys. C: Solid State Physics, 15, 22 (1982)), which relates the Hall conductivity to the derivative of the magnetization with respect to chemical potential. Our finding allows one to extract the magneto-electric coefficient by measuring the magnetization, while varying the chemical potential and one more perturbing field. Such an experimental setup could circumvent many of the current difficulties with measuring the magneto-electric response in 3D topological insulators. The relation we find also makes transparent the effect of disorder on the magneto-electric response, which occurs only through the density of states, and has no effect when the system is gapped.

Abstract:
Recent experiments on heterostructures composed of two or more films of cuprate superconductors of different oxygen doping levels have shown a remarkable T c enhancement (up to 50%) relative to single compound films. We provide a simple explanation of the enhancement which arises naturally from a collection of experimental works. We show that the enhancement could be caused by a structural change in the lattice, namely an increase in the distance of the apical oxygen from the copper-oxygen plane. This increase modifies the effective off-site interaction in the plane which in turn enhances the d-wave superconductivity order parameter. To illustrate this point we study the extended Hubbard model using the fluctuation exchange approximation.

Abstract:
We study ``frustrated'' hopping models, in which at least one energy band, at the maximum or minimum of the spectrum, is dispersionless. The states of the flat band(s) can be represented in a basis which is fully localized, having support on a vanishing fraction of the system in the thermodynamic limit. In the majority of examples, a dispersive band touches the flat band(s) at a number of discrete points in momentum space. We demonstrate that this band touching is related to states which exhibit non-trivial topology in real space. Specifically, these states have support on one-dimensional loops which wind around the entire system (with periodic boundary conditions). A counting argument is given that determines, in each case, whether there is band touching or not, in precise correspondence to the result of straightforward diagonalization. When they are present, the topological structure protects the band touchings in the sense that they can only be removed by perturbations which {\sl also} split the degeneracy of the flat band.

Abstract:
We investigate a number of fermionic condensate phases on the honeycomb lattice, to determine whether topological defects (vortices and edges) in these phases can support bound states with zero energy. We argue that topological zero modes bound to vortices and at edges are not only connected, but should in fact be \emph{identified}. Recently, it has been shown that the simplest s-wave superconducting state for the Dirac fermion approximation of the honeycomb lattice at precisely half filling, supports zero modes inside the cores of vortices (P. Ghaemi and F. Wilczek, 2007). We find that within the continuum Dirac theory the zero modes are not unique neither to this phase, nor to half filling. In addition, we find the \emph{exact} wavefunctions for vortex bound zero modes, as well as the complete edge state spectrum of the phases we discuss. The zero modes in all the phases we examine have even-numbered degeneracy, and as such pairs of any Majorana modes are simply equivalent to one ordinary fermion. As a result, contrary to bound state zero modes in $p_x+i p_y$ superconductors, vortices here do \emph{not} exhibit non-Abelian exchange statistics. The zero modes in the pure Dirac theory are seemingly topologically protected by the effective low energy symmetry of the theory, yet on the original honeycomb lattice model these zero modes are split, by explicit breaking of the effective low energy symmetry.

Abstract:
The spin of an electron trapped in a quantum dot is a promising candidate implementation of a qubit for quantum information processing. We study the central spin problem of the effect of the hyperfine interaction between such an electron and a large number of nuclear moments. Using a spin coherent path integral, we show that in this limit the electron spin evolution is well described by classical dynamics of both the nuclear and electron spins. We then introduce approximate yet systematic methods to analyze aspects of the classical dynamics, and discuss the importance of the exact integrability of the central spin Hamiltonian. This is compared with numerical simulation. Finally, we obtain the asymptotic long time decay of the electron spin polarization. We show that this is insensitive to integrability, and determined instead by the transfer of angular momentum to very weakly coupled spins far from the center of the quantum dot. The specific form of the decay is shown to depend sensitively on the form of the electronic wavefunction.

Abstract:
We investigate a cold atomic mixture of spinless bosons and fermions in two-dimensional optical lattices. In the presence of a nested Fermi surface, the bosons may develop a fascinating supersolid behavior characterized by a finite superfluid density as well as a spatial density wave order. Focusing on the triangular lattice geometry and combining a general Landau-Ginzburg-Wilson approach with microscopically derived mean-field theory, we find an exotic supersolid phase at a fermionic band-filling of $n_f = 3/4$ with a Kagome-type crystalline order. We also address the case of anisotropic hopping amplitudes, and show that striped supersolid phases emerge on the square and triangular lattices. For weak interactions, the supersolid competes with phase separation. For strong intra- and inter-species interactions, with the total number of fermions and bosons corresponding to one particle per site, the bosons form an alternating Mott insulator ground state. Finally, for a mixture of $^{87}\text{Rb}^{40}\text{K}$ and $^{23}\text{Na}^6\text{Li}$, we show that supersolidity can be observed in the range of accessible temperatures in the square lattice geometry.

Abstract:
We study quantum effects in a spin-3/2 antiferromagnet on the pyrochlore lattice in an external magnetic field, focusing on the vicinity of a plateau in the magnetization at half the saturation value, observed in CdCr$_2$O$_4$, and HgCr$_2$O$_4$. Our theory, based on quantum fluctuations, predicts the existence of a symmetry-broken state on the plateau, even with only nearest-neighbor microscopic exchange. This symmetry broken state consists of a particular arrangement of spins polarized parallel and antiparallel to the field in a 3:1 ratio on each tetrahedron. It quadruples the lattice unit cell, and reduces the space group from $Fd\bar{3}m$ to $P4_332$. We also predict that for fields just above the plateau, the low temperature phase has transverse spin order, describable as a Bose-Einstein condensate of magnons. Other comparisons to and suggestions for experiments are discussed.