Absence of U(1) spin liquids in two dimensions

Igor F. Herbut, Babak H. Seradjeh, Subir Sachdev, Ganpathy Murthy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Many popular models of fractionalized spin liquids contain neutral fermionic spinon excitations on a Fermi surface, carrying unit charges under a compact U(1) gauge force. We argue that except at possible critical points, instanton effects generically render such states unstable to confinement in two spatial dimensions, so that all elementary excitations are gauge neutral, and there is no spinon Fermi surface. Similar results are expected to apply to SU(2) spin liquids. However, fractionalized states can appear when the gauge symmetry is broken down to a discrete subgroup by the Higgs mechanism. Our argument generalizes earlier results on confinement in the pure gauge theory, and arguments for the instability of the U(1) "staggered flux" and "algebraic" spin liquids with a Dirac spectrum for fermionic spinons.

Original languageEnglish
Article number195110
Pages (from-to)1951101-1951107
Number of pages7
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number19
StatePublished - Nov 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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