Non-Invertible Theta Symmetries

PIRSA ID: 23020035
Event Type: Seminar
Scientific Area(s):
Quantum Fields and Strings
End date:
  • Lakshya Bhardwaj, University of Oxford

The modern point of view is that the global symmetries of a quantum field theory are described by topological defects/operators of the theory. In general such symmetries are non-invertible, i.e. the associated topological defects do not admit an inverse under fusion. I will describe a general construction of such non-invertible topological defects by coupling lower-dimensional topological quantum field theories (TQFTs) to discrete gauge fields living in a higher-dimensional bulk. The associated symmetries would be referred to as theta symmetries, as this construction can be understood as a generalization of the notion of theta angle. Mathematically, this construction is connected to interesting fusion higher-categories like those formed by higher-representations of groups and higher-groups. I will briefly explain this mathematical connection. I will also describe how the study of theta symmetries includes within it, as a special case, the study of topological phases of matter pursued in condensed matter physics. Towards the end of the talk, I will discuss some works in progress regarding possible physical applications of non-invertible symmetries. Based on ArXiv: 2212.06159, 2208.05973.

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