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Journal Article

From hard spheres to hard-core spins


Placke,  Benedikt
Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Max Planck Society;


Moessner,  Roderich
Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Max Planck Society;

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Sommers, G. M., Placke, B., Moessner, R., & Sondhi, S. L. (2021). From hard spheres to hard-core spins. Physical Review B, 103(10): 104407. doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.103.104407.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0008-7859-E
A system of hard spheres exhibits physics that is controlled only by their density. This comes about because the interaction energy is either infinite or zero, so all allowed configurations have exactly the same energy. The low-density phase is liquid, while the high-density phase is crystalline, an example of "order by disorder" as it is driven purely by entropic considerations. Here we study a family of hard spin models, which we call hard-core spin models, where we replace the translational degrees of freedom of hard spheres with the orientational degrees of freedom of lattice spins. Their hard-core interaction serves analogously to divide configurations of the many spin system into allowed and disallowed sectors. We present detailed results on the square lattice in d = 2 for a set of models with Z(n) symmetry, which generalize Potts models, and their U(1) limits, for ferromagnetic and antiferromagnetic senses of the interaction, which we refer to as exclusion and inclusion models. As the exclusion and inclusion angles are varied, we find a Kosterlitz-Thouless phase transition between a disordered phase and an ordered phase with quasi-long-ranged order, which is the form order by disorder takes in these systems. These results follow from a set of height representations, an ergodic cluster algorithm, and transfer matrix calculations.