Spin-charge separation

In condensed matter physics, the spin-charge separation is an unusual behavior of electrons in some materials under some special conditions that allows the electrons to behave as a bound state of two independent particles, the spinon and the chargon, also known as the holon. The spinon only carries the spin of the electron but not the charge while the chargon/holon has spin equal to zero but its electric charge equals to the charge of the electron. Spin-charge separation is one of the most unusual manifestations of the concept of quasiparticles.

This is really surprising because the "bare" quasiparticles are electrons, holes, phonons and photons, and all of them have the property that bosons are evenly charged and fermions are oddly charged and naively, one would think that any quasiparticle formed from these particles would also satisfy this property.

Since the original electrons in the system are fermions, one of spinon and chargon has to be fermion, and the other one has to be boson. However, it is arbitrary to choose which either one to be fermionic. The formalism with bosonic chargon and fermionic spinion is usually refereed to as ""slave-fermion"" formalism, while the formalism with fermionic chargon and bosonic spinon is called the ""Schwinger boson"" formalism. Both approaches have been used for strongly correlated systems, but neither has been proved to be completely successful. One difficulty of the spin-charge separation is that, spinon and chargon are not gauge invariant quantities, i.e. unphysical objects, there is no direct physical probes to observe them. Therefore more often than not one has to use thermal dynamical or macroscopic techniques to see their effects. This implies that which formalism we choose is irrelevant to real physics, so in principle both approaches should give us the same answer. The reason we obtain radically different answers from these two formalisms is probably because of the wrong mean field solution we choose, which means that we are dealing with the spin-charge separation in a wrong way.

References

External links

* [http://www.stanford.edu/group/arpes/papers/citedmost/13.pdf Observation of Spin-Charge Separation in One-Dimensional SrCuO2]
* [http://www.lbl.gov/Science-Articles/Archive/ALS-spinons-holons.html First Direct Observations of Spinons and Holons]
* [http://www.nature.com/nphys/journal/v2/n6/abs/nphys316.html Distinct spinon and holon dispersions in photoemission spectral functions from one-dimensional SrCuO2 : Abstract]


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