We study a class of three-dimensional (3D) exactly solvable models of topological matter first put forward by Walker and Wang. While these are not models of interacting fermions, they may well capture the topological behavior of some strongly correlated systems. In this work, we give a full pedagogical treatment of a special simple case of these models, which we call the 3D semion model: We calculate its ground-state degeneracies for a variety of boundary conditions, and classify its low-lying excitations. While point defects in the bulk are confined in pairs connected by energetic strings, the surface excitations are more interesting: the model has deconfined point defects pinned to the boundary of the lattice, and these exhibit semionic braiding statistics. The surface physics is reminiscent of a ν=12 bosonic fractional quantum Hall effect in its topological limit, and these considerations help motivate an effective field theoretic description for the lattice models as variants of bF theories. Our special example of the 3D semion model captures much of the behavior of more general "confined Walker-Wang models." We contrast the 3D semion model with the closely related 3D version of the toric code (a lattice gauge theory) which has deconfined point excitations in the bulk, and we discuss how more general models may have some confined and some deconfined excitations. Having seen that there exist lattice models whose surfaces have the same topological order as a bosonic fractional quantum Hall effect on a confining bulk, we construct a lattice model whose surface has similar topological order to a fermionic quantum Hall effect. We find that in these models a fermion is always deconfined in the three-dimensional bulk.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics|
|State||Published - Jan 9 2013|