Abstract:
A largely qualitative, and rather idiosyncratic discussion of electron fractionalization in condensed matter physics is presented, including some historical reflections and some speculations concerning future application of these ideas. Particular attention is paid to systems which exhibit spin-charge separation, i.e. the electron can decay into separate excitations which carry the electron spin and the electron charge; the soliton model of polyacetylene is treated as a paradigmatic example. This paper is based on a talk given at a symposium honoring A.J.Heeger, A.G.MacDiarmid, and H.Shirakawa, the winners of the year 2000 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Abstract:
We present a well-controlled perturbative renormalization group (RG) treatment of superconductivity from short-ranged repulsive interactions in a variety of model two dimensional electronic systems. Our analysis applies in the limit where the repulsive interactions between the electrons are small compared to their kinetic energy.

Abstract:
We study the effect of nonuniform transverse couplings on a quasi-one dimensional superconductor. We show that inhomogeneous couplings quite generally increase the superconducting (pairing) gap relative to the uniform system, but that beyond an ``optimal'' degree of inhomogeneity, they lead to a suppression of the tendency to phase coherence. The optimal conditions for superconductivity are derived. We also show that a {\it delocalized}, spin-gapped phase is stable against weak disorder in a four-leg-ladder with moderate repulsive interactions.

Abstract:
The "d-wave" symmetry of the superconducting order in the cuprate high temperature superconductors is a well established fact, and one which identifies them as "unconventional." However, in macroscopic contexts -- including many potential applications ({\it i.e.} superconducting "wires") -- the material is a composite of randomly oriented superconducting grains in a metallic matrix, in which Josephson coupling between grains mediates the onset of long-range phase coherence. Here, we analyze the physics at length scales large compared to the size of such grains, and in particular the macroscopic character of the long-range order that emerges. While XY-glass order and macroscopic d-wave superconductivity may be possible, we show that under many circumstances -- especially when the d-wave superconducting grains are embedded in a metallic matrix -- the most likely order has global s-wave symmetry.

Abstract:
Using an asymptotically exact weak coupling analysis of a multi-orbital Hubbard model of the electronic structure of \SRO, we show that the interplay between spin and charge fluctuations leads unequivocally to triplet pairing which originates in the quasi-one dimensional bands. The resulting superconducting state spontaneously breaks time-reversal symmetry and is of the form $\Delta \sim p_x + i p_y \hat{z}$ with sharp gap minima and a d-vector that is only {\it weakly} pinned. The supercondutor is topologically {\it trivial} and hence lacks robust chiral Majorana fermion modes along the boundary. The absence of topologically protected edge modes could explain the surprising absence of experimentally detectable edge currents in this system.

Abstract:
We argue that a new type of quantum Hall state requiring non-perturbative Landau level mixing arises at low electron density. In these states, up and down spin electrons pair to form spinless bosons that condense into a bosonic quantum Hall state. We describe a wavefunction for a paired quantum Hall state at $\nu=2$ and argue that it is stabilized by a BCS instability arising in flux attachment calculations. Based on this state, we derive a new global phase diagram for the integral quantum Hall effect with spin. Additional experimental implications are discussed.

Abstract:
Apparently, some form of local superconducting pairing persists to temperatures well above the maximum observed $T_c$ in underdoped cuprates, \textit{i.e.} $T_c$ is suppressed due to the small phase stiffness. With this in mind, we consider the following question -- Given a system with a high pairing scale $\Delta_0 $ but with $T_c$ reduced by phase fluctuations, can one design a composite system in which $T_c$ approaches its mean-field value, $T_c\to T_{MF}\approx \Delta_0/2\$? Here, we study a simple two component model in which a "metallic layer" with $\Delta_0=0$ is coupled by single-particle tunneling to a "pairing layer" with $\Delta_0 >0 $ but zero phase stiffness. We show that in the limit that the bandwidth of the metal is much larger than $\Delta_0$, $T_c$ of the composite system can reach the upper limit $T_c \approx\Delta_0/2$.

Abstract:
A material which is an insulator entirely because of interaction effects is called a correlated insulator. Examples are trans-polyacetylene and the cuprate high temperature superconductors. Whereas doping of a band insulator results in a shift of the chemical potential into the conduction or valence band, doping of a correlated insulator produces fundamental changes in the electronic density of states itself. We have found that a general feature of doping a correlated insulator is the generation of topological defects; solitons in one-dimension and anti-phase domain walls in higher dimensions. We review the well known features of this process in polyacetylene, and describe the experimental evidence that the analogous features are seen in the cuprate superconductors. We also distinguish the case in which the doping-induced features can be viewed as a Fermi surface instability, as in polyacetylene, and the more usual case in which they are a consequence of a Coulomb frustrated electronic tendency to phase separation. Paper presented at the Sixtieth Birthday Symposium for Alan J. Heeger, January 20, 1996

Abstract:
A number of spectacular experimental anomalies\cite{li-2007,fujita-2005} have recently been discovered in certain cuprates, notably {\LBCO} and {\LNSCO}, which exhibit unidirectional spin and charge order (known as ``stripe order''). We have recently proposed to interpret these observations as evidence for a novel ``striped superconducting'' state, in which the superconducting order parameter is modulated in space, such that its average is precisely zero. Here, we show that thermal melting of the striped superconducting state can lead to a number of unusual phases, of which the most novel is a charge $4e$ superconducting state, with a corresponding fractional flux quantum $hc/4e$. These are never-before observed states of matter, and ones, moreover, that cannot arise from the conventional Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer (BCS) mechanism. Thus, direct confirmation of their existence, even in a small subset of the cuprates, could have much broader implications for our understanding of high temperature superconductivity. We propose experiments to observe fractional flux quantization, which thereby could confirm the existence of these states.

Abstract:
We derive the theory of the quantum (zero temperature) superconductor to metal transition in disordered materials when the resistance of the normal metal near criticality is small compared to the quantum of resistivity. This can occur most readily in situations in which ``Anderson's theorem'' does not apply. We explicitly study the transition in superconductor-metal composites, in an s-wave superconducting film in the presence of a magnetic field, and in a low temperature disordered d-wave superconductor. Near the point of the transition, the distribution of the superconducting order parameter is highly inhomogeneous. To describe this situation we employ a procedure which is similar to that introduced by Mott for description of the temperature dependence of the variable range hopping conduction. As the system approaches the point of the transition from the metal to the superconductor, the conductivity of the system diverges, and the Wiedemann-Franz law is violated. In the case of d-wave (or other exotic) superconductors we predict the existence of (at least) two sequential transitions as a function of increasing disorder: a d-wave to s-wave, and then an s-wave to metal transition.