Gradient terms in quantum-critical theories of itinerant fermions

Dmitrii L. Maslov, Prachi Sharma, Dmitrii Torbunov, Andrey V. Chubukov

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We investigate the origin and renormalization of the gradient (Q2) term in the propagator of soft bosonic fluctuations in theories of itinerant fermions near a quantum critical point (QCP) with ordering wavevector Q0=0. A common belief is that (i) the Q2 term comes from fermions with high energies (roughly of order of the bandwidth) and, as such, should be included into the bare bosonic propagator of the effective low-energy model, and (ii) fluctuations within the low-energy model generate Landau damping of soft bosons, but affect the Q2 term only weakly. We argue that the situation is in fact more complex. First, we found that the high- and low-energy contributions to the Q2 term are of the same order. Second, we computed the high-energy contributions to the Q2 term in two microscopic models (a Fermi gas with Coulomb interaction and the Hubbard model) and found that in all cases these contributions are numerically much smaller than the low-energy ones, especially in 2D. This last result is relevant for the behavior of observables at low energies, because the low-energy part of the Q2 term is expected to flow when the effective mass diverges near QCP. If this term is the dominant one, its flow has to be computed self-consistently, which gives rise to a novel quantum-critical behavior. Following up on these results, we discuss two possible ways of formulating the theory of a QCP with Q0=0.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number085137
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 24 2017

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© 2017 American Physical Society.


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