Topological BF theory of the quantum hydrodynamics of incompressible polar fluids

Apoorv Tiwari, Xiao Chen, Titus Neupert, Luiz H. Santos, Shinsei Ryu, Claudio Chamon, Christopher Mudry

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6 Scopus citations


We analyze a hydrodynamical model of a polar fluid in (3 + 1)-dimensional spacetime. We explore a spacetime symmetry (volume-preserving diffeomorphisms) to construct an effective description of this fluid in terms of a topological BF theory. The two degrees of freedom of the BF theory are associated with the mass (charge) flows of the fluid and its polarization vorticities. We discuss the quantization of this hydrodynamic theory, which generically allows for fractionalized excitations. We propose an extension of the Girvin-MacDonald-Platzman algebra to (3 + 1)-dimensional spacetime by the inclusion of the vortex-density operator in addition to the usual charge density operator and show that the same algebra is obeyed by massive Dirac fermions that represent the bulk of Z2 topological insulators in three-dimensional space.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number235118
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 10 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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