Abstract:
We identify the near-critical effective theory (EFT) for a wide class of low-temperature phase transitions found via holography. The EFT is of the semi-holographic type and describes both holographic Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless (BKT) and second-order transitions with non-trivial scaling. It is a simple generalization of the Ginzburg-Landau-Wilson paradigm to systems with an emergent (or hidden) conformal sector. Having identified the near-critical EFT, we explore its basic phenomenology by computing critical exponents and low-frequency correlators.

Abstract:
We find two systems via holography that exhibit quantum Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless (BKT) phase transitions. The first is the ABJM theory with flavor and the second is a flavored (1,1) little string theory. In each case the transition occurs at nonzero density and magnetic field. The BKT transition in the little string theory is the first example of a quantum BKT transition in (3+1) dimensions. As in the "original" holographic BKT transition in the D3/D5 system, the exponential scaling is destroyed at any nonzero temperature and the transition becomes second order. Along the way we construct holographic renormalization for probe branes in the ABJM theory and propose a scheme for the little string theory. Finally, we obtain the embeddings and (half of) the meson spectrum in the ABJM theory with massive flavor.

Abstract:
I clarify some recent confusion regarding the holographic description of finite-density systems in two dimensions. Notably, the chiral anomaly for symmetry currents in 2d conformal field theories (CFT) completely determines their correlators. The important exception is a CFT with a gauge theory to which we may couple an external current, as in the probe D3/D3 system or the putative dual to the charged BTZ black hole. These systems are analyzed with an eye for potential condensed matter applications.

Abstract:
We consider the problem of coupling Galilean-invariant quantum field theories to a fixed spacetime. We propose that to do so, one couples to Newton-Cartan geometry and in addition imposes a one-form shift symmetry. This additional symmetry imposes invariance under Galilean boosts, and its Ward identity equates particle number and momentum currents. We show that Newton-Cartan geometry subject to the shift symmetry arises in null reductions of Lorentzian manifolds, and so our proposal is realized for theories which are holographically dual to quantum gravity on Schr\"odinger spacetimes. We use this null reduction to efficiently form tensorial invariants under the boost and particle number symmetries. We also explore the coupling of Schr\"odinger-invariant field theories to spacetime, which we argue necessitates the Newton-Cartan analogue of Weyl invariance.

Abstract:
We reconsider general aspects of Galilean-invariant thermal field theory. Using the proposal of our companion paper, we recast non-relativistic hydrodynamics in a manifestly covariant way and couple it to a background spacetime. We examine the concomitant consequences for the thermal partition functions of Galilean theories on a time-independent, but weakly curved background. We work out both the hydrodynamics and partition functions in detail for the example of parity-violating normal fluids in two dimensions to first order in the gradient expansion, finding results that differ from those previously reported in the literature. As for relativistic field theories, the equality-type constraints imposed by the existence of an entropy current appear to be in one-to-one correspondence with those arising from the existence of a hydrostatic partition function. Along the way, we obtain a number of useful results about non-relativistic hydrodynamics, including a manifestly boost-invariant presentation thereof, simplified Ward identities, the systematics of redefinitions of the fluid variables, and the positivity of entropy production.

Abstract:
We show that the full spurionic symmetry of Galilean-invariant field theories can be deduced when those theories are the limits of relativistic parents. Under the limit, the non-relativistic daughter couples to Newton-Cartan geometry together with all of the symmetries advocated in previous work, including the recently revived Milne boosts. Our limit is a covariant version of the usual one, where we start with a gapped relativistic theory with a conserved charge, turn on a chemical potential equal to the rest mass of the lightest charged state, and then zoom in to the low energy sector. This procedure gives a simple physical interpretation for the Milne boosts. Our methods even apply when there is a magnetic moment, which is known to modify the non-relativistic symmetry transformations. We focus on two examples, taking the non-relativistic limits of scalar field theory and hydrodynamics.

Abstract:
A conformal field theory (CFT) in dimension $d\geq 3$ coupled to a planar, two-dimensional, conformal defect is characterized in part by a "central charge" $b$ that multiplies the Euler density in the defect's Weyl anomaly. For defect renormalization group flows, under which the bulk remains critical, we use reflection positivity to show that $b$ must decrease or remain constant from ultraviolet to infrared. Our result applies also to a CFT in $d=3$ flat space with a planar boundary.

Abstract:
We analyze the phase diagram of N=4 supersymmetric Yang-Mills theory with fundamental matter in the presence of a background magnetic field and nonzero baryon number. We identify an isolated quantum critical point separating two differently ordered finite density phases. The ingredients that give rise to this transition are generic in a holographic setup, leading us to conjecture that such critical points should be rather common. In this case, the quantum phase transition is second order with mean-field exponents. We characterize the neighborhood of the critical point at small temperatures and identify some signatures of a new phase dominated by the critical point. We also identify the line of transitions between the finite density and zero density phases. The line is completely determined by the mass of the lightest charged quasiparticle at zero density. Finally, we measure the magnetic susceptibility and find hints of fermion condensation at large magnetic field.

Abstract:
Using the anomaly inflow mechanism, we compute the flavor/Lorentz non-invariant contribution to the partition function in a background with a U(1) isometry. This contribution is a local functional of the background fields. By identifying the U(1) isometry with Euclidean time we obtain a contribution of the anomaly to the thermodynamic partition function from which hydrostatic correlators can be efficiently computed. Our result is in line with, and an extension of, previous studies on the role of anomalies in a hydrodynamic setting. Along the way we find simplified expressions for Bardeen-Zumino polynomials and various transgression formulae

Abstract:
We consider quantum Hall states on a space with boundary, focusing on the aspects of the edge physics which are completely determined by the symmetries of the problem. There are four distinct terms of Chern-Simons type that appear in the low-energy effective action of the state. Two of these protect gapless edge modes. They describe Hall conductance and, with some provisions, thermal Hall conductance. The remaining two, including the Wen-Zee term, which contributes to the Hall viscosity, do not protect gapless edge modes but are instead related to local boundary response fixed by symmetries. We highlight some basic features of this response. It follows that the coefficient of the Wen-Zee term can change across an interface without closing a gap or breaking a symmetry.