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GravQuantMat Report Summary

Project ID: 339140
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: United Kingdom

Mid-Term Report Summary - GRAVQUANTMAT (Gravity, Black Holes and Strongly Coupled Quantum Matter)

Understanding the properties of strongly coupled quantum matter poses huge conceptual challenges because standard perturbative techniques break down at strong coupling. Such states appear in a wide variety of settings in condensed matter and also in the quark-gluon plasma created in the high-energy collisions of nuclei. The project has made significant theoretical progress in understanding strongly coupled matter using the remarkable tool of gauge-gravity duality, also known as the AdS/CFT correspondence. Indeed, specific strongly coupled field theories have been studied using a dual, weakly coupled gravitational description. Furthermore, this duality states that the phase structure of the quantum field theory at finite temperature is precisely described by black hole geometries and so the work has also discovered many new features of black hole physics.

The work has extended our understanding of known strongly coupled quantum critical ground states using novel gravitational solutions. In particular, new insights into Drude metals have been found and novel metals and insulating states have also been discovered. The phase structure of strongly coupled quantum field theories at finite temperature has been studied and new insights into spatially modulated phases have been found with striking lattice structures. A remarkable result, and a major achievement in the project to date, is the discovery that the thermoelectric conductivity matrix in gauge-gravity duality can be obtained, universally, by solving Navier-Stokes equations on black hole horizons. This is a powerful technical result and also a precise manifestation of the "membrane paradigm" in black hole physics. The behaviour of strongly coupled systems in situations out of thermal equilibrium has been studied with a focus on confining theories and anomalous transport. In complementary work, novel insights into the properties of Goldstone bosons in the context of non-relativistic spontaneous symmetry breaking have also been made.

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United Kingdom
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