Monday, July 8, 2013

1307.1485 (Matthew S. Foster et al.)

Quantum quench in a p + i p superfluid: Winding numbers and topological
states far from equilibrium

Matthew S. Foster, Maxim Dzero, Victor Gurarie, Emil A. Yuzbashyan
We study the non-adiabatic dynamics of a 2D p+ip superfluid following a quantum quench of the BCS coupling constant. The model describes a topological superconductor with a non-trivial BCS (trivial BEC) phase appearing at weak (strong) coupling strengths. We extract the exact long-time asymptotics of the order parameter \Delta(t) by exploiting the integrability of the classical p-wave Hamiltonian, which we establish via a Lax construction. Three different types of behavior can occur depending upon the strength and direction of the quench. In phase I, the order parameter asymptotes to zero. In phase II, \Delta(t) goes to a non-zero constant. Phase III is characterized by persistent oscillations of \Delta(t). For quenches within I and II, we determine the topological character of the asymptotic states. We show that two different formulations of the bulk topological winding number, although equivalent in the ground state, must be regarded as independent out of equilibrium. The first number Q characterizes the Anderson pseudospin texture of the initial state; we show that it is conserved. For non-zero Q, this leads to the prediction of a "gapless topological" state when \Delta(t) goes to zero. The presence or absence of Majorana edge modes in a sample with a boundary is encoded in the second winding number W, formulated in terms of the retarded Green's function. We show that W can change following a quench across the quantum critical point. We discuss the implications for the (dis)appearance of Majorana edge modes. Finally, we show that the parity of zeros in the bulk out-of-equilibrium Cooper pair distribution function constitutes a Z2-valued quantum number, which is non-zero whenever W differs from Q. The pair distribution can in principle be measured using RF spectroscopy in an ultracold atom realization, allowing direct experimental detection of the bulk Z2 number.
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