Abstract:
By analyzing vortex lattices, re-entrant Cooper pairing and Fulde-Ferrell-Larkin-Ovchinnikov (FFLO) states in a single theoretical framework we explore how vortices and spin textures join to protect superconductivity against large magnetic fields. We use a rapidly rotating ultra-cold gas of fermionic atoms near unitarity as a model system amenable to experimental exploration, and discover a hierarchy of spin-polarized and FFLO phases in which a metal or a band-insulator of unpaired particles coexists with a spatially modulated superfluid hosting a vortex lattice. Quantum fluctuations can transform these phases into strongly correlated "vortex liquid" metals and insulators respectively. We argue that vortex lattices significantly enhance the stability of FFLO states and discuss prospects for observing these states in cold atom experiments.

Abstract:
General conditions in which disordered, spin liquid, and valence-bond ordered phases occur in quantum Ising antiferromagnets are studied using the prototype Kagome lattice spin models. A range of quantum dynamical processes in the Ising model, with and without total Ising spin conserved, are analytically shown to yield all three characteristic quantum paramagnetic phases in the Kagome system. Special emphasis is given to the XXZ model that can be sensibly compared to the Kagome lattice Heisenberg antiferromagnet. It is explicitly demonstrated that the total-spin-conserving dynamics can yield a resonant valence bond (RVB) liquid phase with very short-ranged correlations, but also a valence-bond ordered phase compatible with the one proposed to explain the seemingly gapless singlet states of the Heisenberg antiferromagnet on the Kagome lattice. Likely consequences for generic spin models are discussed. The analysis combines compact U(1) gauge theory, duality transformations, lattice-field-theoretical methods, and variational approach.

Abstract:
Fermionic superfluids can undergo phase transitions into different kinds of normal regimes, loosely characterized by whether Cooper pairs remain locally stable. If the normal phase retains strong pairing fluctuations, it behaves like a liquid of vortices, which has been observed in cuprate superconductors. We argue that analogous strongly correlated normal states exist in two-dimensional neutral fermion liquids near unitarity, where superfluid is destroyed by fast rotation. These states have non-universal properties, and if they develop as distinct thermodynamic phases they can be characterized as quantum Hall states of Cooper pairs. The formal analysis is based on a model with SP(2N) symmetry that describes the quantum critical region in the vicinity of a broad Feshbach resonance. We explore the pairing phase diagram and demonstrate that the considered model has macroscopically degenerate bosonic modes in the normal phase, to all orders in 1/N. It takes finite-range interactions to lift this degeneracy, making the Abrikosov flux lattice of the superfluid particularly susceptible to quantum melting.

Abstract:
We consider a generic two-dimensional system of fermionic particles with attractive interactions and no disorder. If time-reversal symmetry is absent, it is possible to obtain incompressible insulating states in addition to the superfluid at zero temperature. The superfluid-insulator phase transition is found to be second order in type-II systems using a perturbative analysis of Cooper pairing instability in quantum Hall states of unpaired fermions. We obtain the pairing phase diagram as a function of chemical potential (density) and temperature. However, a more careful analysis presented here reveals that the pairing quantum phase transition is always preempted by another transition into a strongly correlated normal state which retains Cooper pairing and cannot be smoothly connected to the quantum Hall state of unpaired fermions. Such a normal phase can be qualitatively viewed as a liquid of vortices, although it may acquire conventional broken symmetries. Even if it did not survive at finite temperatures its influence would be felt through strong quantum fluctuations below a crossover temperature scale. These conclusions directly apply to fermionic ultra-cold atom systems near unitarity, but are likely relevant for the properties of other strongly correlated superfluids as well, including high temperature superconductors.

Abstract:
We construct an effective topological Landau-Ginzburg theory that describes general SU(2) incompressible quantum liquids of strongly correlated particles in two spatial dimensions. This theory characterizes the fractionalization of quasiparticle quantum numbers and statistics in relation to the topological ground-state symmetries, and generalizes the Chern-Simons, BF and hierarchical effective gauge theories to an arbitrary representation of the SU(2) symmetry group. Our main focus are fractional topological insulators with time-reversal symmetry, which are treated as generalizations of the SU(2) quantum Hall effect.

Abstract:
We explore the universal properties of interacting fermionic lattice systems, mostly focusing on the development of pairing correlations from attractive interactions. Using renormalization group we identify a large number of fixed points and show that they correspond to resonant scattering in multiple channels. Pairing resonances in finite-density band insulators occur between quasiparticles and quasiholes living at different symmetry-related wavevectors in the Brillouin zone. This allows a BCS-BEC crossover interpretation of both Cooper and particle-hole pairing. We show that in two dimensions the run-away flows of relevant attractive interactions lead to charged-boson-dominated low energy dynamics in the insulating states, and superfluid transitions in bosonic mean-field or XY universality classes. Analogous phenomena in higher dimensions are restricted to the strong coupling limit, while at weak couplings the transition is in the pair-breaking BCS class. The models discussed here can be realized with ultra-cold gases of alkali atoms tuned to a broad Feshbach resonance in an optical lattice, enabling experimental studies of pairing correlations in insulators, especially in their universal regimes. In turn, these simple and tractable models capture the emergence of fluctuation-driven superconducting transitions in fermionic systems, which is of interest in the context of high temperature superconductors.

Abstract:
Electrons subjected to a strong spin-orbit coupling in two spatial dimensions could form fractional incompressible quantum liquids without violating the time-reversal symmetry. Here we construct a Lagrangian description of such fractional topological insulators by combining the available experimental information on potential host materials and the fundamental principles of quantum field theory. This Lagrangian is a Landau-Ginzburg theory of spinor fields, enhanced by a topological term that implements a state-dependent fractional statistics of excitations whenever both particles and vortices are incompressible. The spin-orbit coupling is captured by an external static SU(2) gauge field. The presence of spin conservation or emergent U(1) symmetries would reduce the topological term to the Chern-Simons effective theory tailored to the ensuing quantum Hall state. However, the Rashba spin-orbit coupling in solid-state materials does not conserve spin. We predict that it can nevertheless produce incompressible quantum liquids with topological order but without a quantized Hall conductivity. We discuss two examples of such liquids whose description requires a generalization of the Chern-Simons theory. One is an Abelian Laughlin-like state, while the other has a new kind of non-Abelian many-body entanglement. Their quasiparticles exhibit fractional spin-dependent exchange statistics, and have fractional quantum numbers derived from the electron's charge and spin according to their transformations under time-reversal. In addition to conventional phases of matter, the proposed topological Lagrangian can capture a broad class of hierarchical Abelian and non-Abelian topological states, involving particles with arbitrary spin or general emergent SU(N) charges.

Abstract:
The pseudogap state of cuprate high-temperature superconductors has been often viewed as either a yet unknown competing order or a precursor state to superconductivity. While awaiting the resolution of the pseudogap problem in cuprates, we demonstrate that local pairing fluctuations, vortex liquid dynamics and other precursor phenomena can emerge quite generally whenever fermionic excitations remain gapped across the superconducting transition, regardless of the gap origin. Our choice of a tractable model is a lattice band insulator with short-range attractive interactions between fermions in the s-wave channel. An effective crossover between Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer (BCS) and Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) regimes can be identified in any band insulator above two dimensions, while in two dimensions only the BEC regime exists. The superconducting transition is "unconventional" (non-pair-breaking) in the BEC regime, identified by either the bosonic mean-field or XY universality class. The insulator adjacent to the superconductor in the BEC regime is a bosonic Mott insulator of Cooper pairs, which may be susceptible to charge density wave ordering. We construct a function of the many-body excitation spectrum whose non-analytic changes define a sharp distinction between band and Mott insulators. The corresponding "second order transition" can be observed out of equilibrium by driving a Cooper pair laser in the Mott insulator. We explicitly show that the gap for charged bosonic excitations lies below the threshold for Cooper pair breakup in any BEC regime, despite quantum fluctuations. Our discussion ends with a view of possible consequences for cuprates, where antinodal pair dynamics has certain features in common with our simple s-wave picture.

Abstract:
We highlight the properties of a simple model (contained in our recent work) of the quantum dynamics of a single point vortex interacting with the nodal fermionic quasiparticles of a d-wave superconductor. We describe the renormalization of the vortex motion by the quasiparticles: at T=0, the quasiparticles renormalize the vortex mass and introduce only a weak sub-Ohmic damping. Ohmic (or `Bardeen-Stephen' damping) appears at T>0, with the damping co-efficient vanishing ~ T^2 with a universal prefactor. Conversely, quantum fluctuations of the vortex renormalize the quasiparticle spectrum. A point vortex oscillating in a harmonic pinning potential has no zero-bias peak in the electronic local density of states (LDOS), but has small satellite features at an energy determined by the pinning potential. These are proposed as the origin of sub-gap LDOS peaks observed in scanning tunneling microscopic studies of the LDOS near a vortex.

Abstract:
It has long been known that particles with short-range repulsive interactions in spatial dimension d=1 form universal quantum liquids in the low density limit: all properties can be related to those of the spinless free Fermi gas. Previous renormalization group (RG) analyses demonstrated that this universality is described by an RG fixed point, infrared stable for d<2, of the zero density gas. We show that for d>2 the same fixed point describes the universal properties of particles with short-range attractive interactions near a Feshbach resonance; the fixed point is now infrared unstable, and the relevant perturbation is the detuning of the resonance. Some exponents are determined exactly, and the same expansion in powers of (d-2) applies for scaling functions for d<2 and d>2. A separate exact RG analysis of a field theory of the particles coupled to `molecules' finds an alternative description of the same fixed point, with identical exponents; this approach yields a (4-d) expansion which agrees with the recent results of Nishida and Son (cond-mat/0604500). The existence of the RG fixed point implies a universal phase diagram as a function of density, temperature, population imbalance, and detuning; in particular, this applies to the BEC-BCS crossover of fermions with s-wave pairing. Our results open the way towards computation of these universal properties using the standard field-theoretic techniques of critical phenomena, along with a systematic analysis of corrections to universality. We also propose a 1/N expansion (based upon models with Sp(2N) symmetry) of the fixed point and its vicinity, and use it to obtain results for the phase diagram.