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Understanding Quantum Phase Transitions (Condensed Matter Physics) [Hardcover]

Lincoln D. Carr
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

November 2, 2010 1439802513 978-1439802519 0

Quantum phase transitions (QPTs) offer wonderful examples of the radical macroscopic effects inherent in quantum physics: phase changes between different forms of matter driven by quantum rather than thermal fluctuations, typically at very low temperatures. QPTs provide new insight into outstanding problems such as high-temperature superconductivity and display fundamental aspects of quantum theory, such as strong correlations and entanglement. Over the last two decades, our understanding of QPTs has increased tremendously due to a plethora of experimental examples, powerful new numerical methods, and novel theoretical understanding of previously intractable quantum many-body problems.

Understanding Quantum Phase Transitions organizes our current understanding of QPTs with an emphasis on examples from condensed matter physics. Bringing together 48 well known physicists involved with the theory and observation of QPTs, this unique work provides a thorough yet concise examination of the field. Each chapter takes readers through past discoveries right up through the latest research results, and then ends with open questions and unsolved problems.

  • Part I treats new concepts and directions in QPTs, from dynamics through dissipation and entanglement, and includes introductory material suitable for scientists new to the field.
  • Part II explores specific models, systems, and aspects of QPTs, including topological order, the Kondo lattice, the Jaynes-Cummings lattice, reduced dimensionality, finite-size effects and metastability, and QPTs in Bose-Einstein condensates.
  • Part III covers experiments motivated by a deeper understanding of QPTs, including quantum dots, 2D electron systems, frustrated lattices in molecular antiferromagnets, heavy fermions, and ultracold atoms in optical lattices.
  • Part IV presents advances in numerical methods used to study QPTs, including cluster Monte Carlo and the worm algorithm, matrix-product-state methods, and dynamical mean-field theory.
  • Part V looks at the relevance of QPTs beyond condensed-matter physics, including their occurrence in neutron stars, the quark-gluon plasma, cavity QED systems, and string theory.

Graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, and professional scientists who seek a deep knowledge of QPTs will all find this book very useful. Researchers in the field will enhance their appreciation of the incredible breadth of the subject in chapters covering material outside their specialties.

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Editorial Reviews


Lincoln Carr has produced an epic survey of the current state of knowledge of quantum phase transitions which nicely complements the classic textbook by Subir Sachdev … a thorough overview of methods in current use and recent results.
—Keith Benedict, Contemporary Physics, May 2012

Product Details

  • Series: Condensed Matter Physics (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 756 pages
  • Publisher: CRC Press (November 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439802513
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439802519
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,204,562 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Carr obtained his B.A. in physics at the University of California, Berkeley in 1994. In 1996 he began a Master's/Ph.D. program in physics at the University of Washington in Seattle, receiving his Ph.D. in March 2001. He was a Distinguished International Fellow of the National Science Foundation from 2001-2004 at the Ecole normale superieure in Paris, and a Professional Research Associate at JILA in Boulder, Colorado from 2003-2005. He is presently a Professor in the Department of Physics at the Colorado School of Mines, where he has been since 2005. He is an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the Center for Quantum Dynamics at the University of Heidelberg in Germany and a guest researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology located just outside Washington, D.C. He has also been a visiting researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems in Dresden, Germany, the Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara, California, the Institut Henri Poincare at the Universite Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, France, and the Kirchhoff Institute for Physics at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. In 2011 he received the Excellence in Research Award from the Colorado School of Mines and became a Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences. Other career paths he has explored include English teacher, theatre actor, and dishwasher. Besides physics, he enjoys writing, philosophy, and world travel.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than the sum of the parts April 29, 2011
I have had a copy of this book for nearly six months now, and it still surprises me how remarkably useful it turned out to be. It contains contributions from almost every distinguished worker in the field, to put together what amounts to a very thorough coverage of the state of the art in quantum phase transitions. But big names
do not always make for a good book, and this is where "Understanding Quantum Phase Transitions" stands apart from other similar books I have read. It is clear that almost every contributor took the pains to not only summarize what is new in his/her field of expertize, but to also go the extra mile and write an account accessible to the non-expert,
and even quite insightful in many instances. This is what makes this book so useful to me, because I am nowhere close to master the topic of quantum phase transition, but I do work almost exclusively in quantum mechanical problems. So now every time that I think that I am working on something related, of interest to, or that can benefit from
the developments in quantum phase transitions, I check it out in this book.
I will not point out contributions that I think are outstanding, to avoid the exercise in personal bias. In fact, what I like best about this book is that I have been able to learn quickly about all those topics that are not among my favorites.
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