Article

Communications in Mathematical Physics

, Volume 175, Issue 3, pp 565-606

The spectral gap for some spin chains with discrete symmetry breaking

  • Bruno NachtergaeleAffiliated withDepartment of Physics, Princeton University

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Abstract

We prove that for any finite set of generalized valence bond solid (GVBS) states of a quantum spin chain there exists a translation invariant finite-range Hamiltonian for which this set is the set of ground states. This result implies that there are GVBS models with arbitrary broken discrete symmetries that are described as combinations of lattice translations, lattice reflections, and local unitary or anti-unitary transformations. We also show that all GVBS models that satisfy some natural conditions have a spectral gap. The existence of a spectral gap is obtained by applying a simple and quite general strategy for proving lower bounds on the spectral gap of the generator of a classical or quantum spin dynamics. This general scheme is interesting in its own right and threfore, although the basic idea is not new, we present it in a system-independent setting. The results are illustrated with a number of examples.