CMSA Quantum Matter in Mathematics and Physics: Strongly coupled ultraviolet fixed point and symmetric mass generation in four dimensions with 8 Kähler-Dirac fermions


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March 3, 2023 10:00 am - 11:30 am
via Zoom Video Conferencing

Anna Hasenfratz - University of Colorado

4-dimensional gauge-fermion systems exhibit a quantum phase transition from a confining, chirally broken phase to a conformal phase as the number of fermions is increased. While the existence of the conformal phase is well established, very little is known about the nature of the phase transition or the strong coupling phase.
Lattice QCD methods can predict the RG $\beta$ function, but the calculations are often limited by non-physical bulk phase transition that prevent exploring the strong coupling region of the phase diagram. Even the critical flavor number is controversial, estimates vary between $N_f=8$ and 14 for fundamental fermions.
Using an improved lattice actions that include heavy Pauli-Villars (PV) type bosons to reduce ultraviolet fluctuations, I was able to simulate an SU(3) system with 8 fundamental flavors at much stronger renormalized coupling than previously possibly. The numerical results indicate a smooth phase transition from weak coupling to a strongly coupled phase.
I investigate the critical behavior of the transition using finite size scaling. The result of the scaling analysis is not consistent with a first order phase transition, but it is well described by   Berezinsky-Kosterlitz-Thouless or BKT scaling. BKT scaling could imply that the 8-flavor system is the opening of the conformal window, an exciting possibility that warrants further investigations.
The strongly coupled phase appear to be chirally symmetric but gapped, suggesting symmetric mass generation (SMG). This could be the consequence of the lattice fermions used in this study. Staggered fermions in the massless limit are known to be anomaly free, allowing an SMG phase in the continuum limit.

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