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Topological Phase Effects

Robbins, J.M.


Keyword(s):geometric phases; Berry phase; holonomy

Abstract: Quantum eigenstates undergoing cyclic changes acquire a phase factor of geometric origin. This phase, known as the Berry phase, or the geometric phase, has found applications in a wide range of disciplines throughout physics, including atomic and molecular physics, condensed matter physics, optics, and classical dynamics. In this article, the basic theory of the geometric phase is presented along with a number of representative applications. The article begins with an account of the geometric phase of cyclic adiabatic evolutions. An elementary derivation is given along with a worked example for two-state systems. The implications of time-reversal are explained, as is the fundamental connection between the geometric phase and energy level degeneracies. We also discuss methods of experimental observation. A brief account is given of geometric magnetism; this is a Lorenz-like force of geometric origin which appears in the dynamics of slow systems coupled to fast ones. A number of theoretical developments of the geometric phase are presented. These include an informal discussion of fibre bundles, and generalizations of the geometric phase to degenerate eigenstates (the nonabelian case) and to nonadiabatic evolution. There follows an account of applications. Manifestations in classical physics include the Hannay angle and kinematic geometric phases. Applications in optics concern polarization dynamics, including the theory and observation of Pancharatnam's phase. Applications in molecular physics include the molecular Aharonov-Bohm effect and nuclear magnetic resonance studies. In condensed matter physics, we discuss the role of the geometric phase in the theory of the quantum Hall effect.

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