Caroline S. Gorham, David E. Laughlin
Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, Volume 31, Number 10
Publication year: 2019

Topological origins of the thermal transport properties of crystalline and non-crystalline solid states are considered herein, by the adoption of a quaternion orientational order parameter to describe solidication. Global orientational order, achieved by spontaneous symmetry breaking (SSB), is prevented at nite temperatures for systems that exist in restricted dimensions (Mermin-Wagner theorem). Just as complex ordered systems exist in restricted dimensions in 2D and 1D, owing to the dimensionality of the order parameter, quaternion ordered systems in 4D and 3D exist in restricted dimensions. Just below the melting temperature, misorientational fluctuations in the form of spontaneously generated topological defects prevent the development of the solid state. Such solidifying systems are well-described using O(4) quantum rotor models, and a defect-driven Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless (BKT) transition is anticipated to separate an undercooled fluid from a crystalline solid state. In restricted dimensions, in addition to orientationally-ordered ground states, orientationally-disordered ground states may be realized by tuning a non-thermal parameter in the relevant O(n) quantum rotor model Hamiltonian. Thus, glassy solid states are anticipated to exist as distinct ground states of O(4) quantum rotor models. Within this topological framework for solidication, the finite Kauzmann temperature marks a first-order transition between crystalline and glassy solid states at a “self-dual” critical point that belongs to O(4) quantum rotor models. This transition is a higher-dimensional analogue to the quantum phase transition that belongs to O(2) Josephson junction arrays (JJAs). The thermal transport properties of crystalline and glassy solid states, above approximately 50 K, are considered alongside the electrical transport properties of JJAs across the superconductor-to-superinsulator transition.