Manifestation of topological behaviors in interacting Weyl systems: One-body versus two-body correlations

Min Fong Yang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

9 Scopus citations


Understanding correlation effects in topological phases of matter is at the forefront of current research in condensed matter physics. Here we try to clarify some subtleties in studying topological behaviors of interacting Weyl semimetals. It is well known that there exist two topological invariants defined to identify their topological character. One is the many-body Chern number, which can be directly linked to the Hall conductivity and thus to the two-particle correlations. The other is the topological index constructed from the single-particle Green's functions. Because the information on Green's functions is achieved more easily than the many-body wave functions, usually only the topological index is employed in the literature. However, the approach based on the single-particle Green's function can break down in the strongly correlated phase. For illustration, an exactly solvable two-orbital model with momentum-local two-body interactions is discussed, in which both topological invariants can be calculated analytically. We find that the topological index calculated from the Green's function formalism can be nonzero even for a nontopological strongly correlated phase with a vanishing many-body Chern number. In addition, we stress that the physical surface states implied by nonzero many-body Chern numbers should be the edge modes of particle-hole collective excitations, rather than those of a quasiparticle nature derived from the Green's function formalism. Our observations thus demonstrate the limitation of the validity of the Green's function formalism in the investigations of interacting topological materials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number245137
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number24
StatePublished - 23 12 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Physical Society.


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