Marek Biskup, Lincoln Chayes, Shannon Starr
Quantum spin systems at finite temperature
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ABSTRACT. We develop a novel approach to phase transitions in quantum spin models based on a relation to the corresponding classical spin systems. Explicitly, we show that whenever chessboard estimates can be used to prove a phase transition in the classical model, the corresponding quantum model will have a similar phase transition, provided the inverse temperature $\beta$ and the magnitude of the quantum spins $\CalS$ satisfy $\beta\ll\sqrt\CalS$. From the quantum system we require that it is reflection positive and that it has a meaningful classical limit; the core technical estimate may be described as an extension of the Berezin-Lieb inequalities down to the level of matrix elements. The general theory is further applied to prove phase transitions in various quantum spin systems with $\CalS\gg1$. The most notable examples are the quantum orbital-compass model on $\Z^2$ and the quantum 120-degree model on $\Z^3$ which are shown to exhibit symmetry breaking at low-temperatures despite the infinite degeneracy of their (classical) ground state.