Quantum Critical Phenomena
Statics and Dynamics
titles & abstracts
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September 25-27, 2008 in Toronto, Canada
Organizers: Tom Devereaux, Yong Baek Kim, Catherine Kallin and Stephen Julian

About the meeting

The idea of quantum critical phenomena began as a description of phase transitions at zero temperature. It has since grown to describe a whole programme of classification of the low-energy properties of systems in condensed matter physics, quantum optics, and even in more speculative discussions of quantum computation. Nevertheless the touchstone of the field still remains the properties of a few experimental systems.

This meeting will bring together experts and active researchers in the general field of quantum phase transitions, to discuss the issue of static and dynamical properties of novel materials at and near a quantum critical point. The meeting will concentrate on several important new ideas in this area:

(i) The dynamics of quantum phase transitions, as one sweeps an external parameter at a given rate through the critical point. This problem has been widely discussed for both condensed matter and quantum optical systems, as well as for adiabatic quantum computation (examples: optical lattices, He-3 B nucleation, LiHoYF system, cuprate superconductors)

(ii) The way in which decoherence from the interaction with a 'spin bath' environment influences a quantum phase transition. There is now extensive debate about this for rare earth and transition metal spins interacting via dipolar interactions (examples: LiHoYF, Josephson junction arrays, tunneling magnetic molecules, spin-qubit lattices [N vacancies, Q Dots, etc]).

(iii) Hidden order and hidden QPT: Under what conditions will a continuous transition not be pre-empted by a first order transition - which is what usually happens (examples: many metal-insulator transitions in materials such as doped semiconductors, Sr3Ru2O7, URh2Si2, V2O3, manganites and other transition metal oxides, and liquid-solid He4).

(iv) Applications to strongly-correlated electron systems, notably (a) Quantum liquids, notably the competition between magnetic and superconducting ordering, Quantum Hall liquids, etc., and (b) frustrated spin systems, including spin liquids, and quantum spin glasses.

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