Geometry of reduced density matrices for symmetry-protected topological phases

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Journal Article
Physical Review A, 2016, 93 (1)
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© 2016 American Physical Society. In this paper, we study the geometry of reduced density matrices for states with symmetry-protected topological (SPT) order. We observe ruled surface structures on the boundary of the convex set of low-dimensional projections of the reduced density matrices. In order to signal the SPT order using ruled surfaces, it is important that we add a symmetry-breaking term to the boundary of the system - no ruled surface emerges in systems without a boundary or when we add a symmetry-breaking term representing a thermodynamic quantity. Although the ruled surfaces only appear in the thermodynamic limit where the ground-state degeneracy is exact, we analyze the precision of our numerical algorithm and show that a finite-system calculation suffices to reveal the ruled surface structures.
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