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Published December 27, 2011 | Published
Journal Article Open

Bose metals and insulators on multileg ladders with ring exchange


We establish compelling evidence for the existence of new quasi-one-dimensional descendants of the d-wave Bose liquid (DBL), an exotic two-dimensional quantum phase of uncondensed itinerant bosons characterized by surfaces of gapless excitations in momentum space [O. I. Motrunich and M. P. A. Fisher Phys. Rev. B 75 235116 (2007)]. In particular, motivated by a strong-coupling analysis of the gauge theory for the DBL, we study a model of hard-core bosons moving on the N-leg square ladder with frustrating four-site ring exchange. Here, we focus on four- and three-leg systems where we have identified two novel phases: a compressible gapless Bose metal on the four-leg ladder and an incompressible gapless Mott insulator on the three-leg ladder. The former is conducting along the ladder and has five gapless modes, one more than the number of legs. This represents a significant step forward in establishing the potential stability of the DBL in two dimensions. The latter, on the other hand, is a fundamentally quasi-one-dimensional phase that is insulating along the ladder but has two gapless modes and incommensurate power-law transverse density-density correlations. While we have already presented results on this latter phase elsewhere [ M. S. Block et al. Phys. Rev. Lett. 106 046402 (2011)], we will expand upon those results in this work. In both cases, we can understand the nature of the phase using slave-particle-inspired variational wave functions consisting of a product of two distinct Slater determinants, the properties of which compare impressively well to a density matrix renormalization group solution of the model Hamiltonian. Stability arguments are made in favor of both quantum phases by accessing the universal low-energy physics with a bosonization analysis of the appropriate quasi-1D gauge theory. We will briefly discuss the potential relevance of these findings to high-temperature superconductors, cold atomic gases, and frustrated quantum magnets.

Additional Information

© 2011 American Physical Society. Received 21 October 2011; revised manuscript received 5 December 2011; published 27 December 2011. This work was supported by the NSF under grants DMR-1101912 (R.V.M., M.S.B., and M.P.A.F.), DMR-1056536 (R.K.K.), DMR-0906816, DMR-0611562 (D.N.S.), and DMR-0907145 (O.I.M.), and Microsoft Station Q (R.V.M. and R.K.K.).

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