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One-Dimensional Ising Model and the Complete Devil's Staircase

Per Bak
Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara, California 93106, and
H. C. @rsted Institute, DE-2100 Copenhagen g, Dennnzxk


R. Bruinsma
Brookhaven Sationa/ Laboratory, Upton, Bezel York 11978
(Received 18 March 1982)
It is shown rigorously that the one-dimensional Ising model with long-range antiferro-
magnetic interactions exhibits a complete devil's staircase.
PACS numbers: 05. 50.+q, 75.10.8k

Periodic modulated systems are quite common where the summation is over the A spins in the
in solid-state physics. In general there is a ten- chain, and S,. = + 1. Only "up" spins (S =+ 1) in-
dency for the periodicity to lock into values which teract.
are commensurable with the lattice constant. ' As The model. has some rather direct physical ap-
a parameter is changed, the system may pass plications. Safran' has applied the model to the
through several commensurate phases which may phenomenon of "staging" in graphite intercalation
or may not have incommensurate phases between compounds. 8, =1 indicates the existence of a
them. In particular, Bak and von Boehm argued layer of intercalated atoms at the ith graphite
that the three-dimensional anisotropic Ising mod- layer and S,. = —1 indicates the absence of inter-
el with next-nearest-neighbor interactions has an calated ions. J(i —j) is thus essentially the inter-
infinity of commensurate phases. ' At high tem- action between intercalated layers, and B is a
peratures there are probably also incommensurate chemical potential for the layers. Hubbard and
phases, ' but at low temperatures the commensu- Torrance' suggested that the model may explain
rate phases are generally separated by first- certain features of the "neutral-ionic" transitions
order transitions in this model. observed in some mixed-stack organic charge
In principle the periodicity may assume every transfer salts by Torrance et al. ' J(i-j)
is then
single commensurable value in an interval. Since the Coulomb repulsion between ionic planes and
the rational. numbers are everywhere dense, two 0 is the difference I-A between the donor ioniza-
steps in the function showing the periodicity ver- tion potential I and the acceptor electron-affinity
sus the parameter are then always separated by A. Both argue that an infinity of phases may oc-
an infinity of more steps. This structure is cur, but the precise nature of the phases has not
called the devil's staircase. ' If the commensurate been specified.
phases "fill up" the whole phase diagram the For a given magnetization (number of "up" spins
staircase is called complete. It has been specu- minus number of "down" spins) the problem of
lated that the Frenkel-Kontorowa model (an array minimizing (1) is equivalent to the problem of ar-
of classical particles, connected by springs, in ranging a number of charged particles on N sites
a periodic potential) exhibits the complete devil' s so as to minimize the Coulomb energy. This
staircase, but until now onl, y numerical arguments
have been available. ' In this paper it is shown Pokrovsky and Uimin. "
problem has been solved by Hubbard" and by
Some simple properties
rigorously that the ground state of the one-dimen- of the stable configurations are important for our
sional Ising model with convex long-range anti- '
purpose. Let X,. denote the position of the ith up
ferromagnetic interactions has a complete devil' s- spin, and let X,' be the distance to the next up
staircase structure. To our knowledge, this con- spin. Similarly, X,~ is the distance to thePth-
stitutes the first proof of the existence of the nearest up spin, X,. =X p X' If the fraction

complete devil's staircase in any model. . of up spin is q =m/n it can be shown that the en-
For simplicity we write the Hamiltonian in the ergy is minimized if for all sites, then
following asymmetric form (which, of course, is
completely general): X, =rp or rp +1,
H= Q, HS, +s+, , J(i-. j)(S. ,. +1)(S, +1), where r~ &np/m &r~ + 1. For P/q =Pn/m integer,

Qc 1982 The American Physical Society 249


qjl 0.45

(r, = 4, 5; r2 -9; r3 =13, 14.. ..... . . . )

=„-', tlltllt llltll

( ri = 3, 4; r2
- 6, 5; r3
- 9, 10; r& =13„.. ... )

tttlt tt/tttl
(r& = 1. 2; r2 =2. 3; r3= 4. . .. .. ...... )

V6 lt

~-)"~ t l l l l j l l l l l l l l
( rj =15; r2 = 30 ... . . ... . .. ) 0.2—

FIG. 1. Typical stable spin configurations with q

the ratio of up spins over down spins. 6 -H

FIG. 2. The devil's staircase. The ratio of up spins

over down spins q is plotted vs the applied field H for
X, =r~ =np/m. The sum of all pth-nearest- an interaction J(i) = i . Inset: The area in the
neighbor distances must fulfill the obvious re- square magnified 10 times.

Q, X, =PN. (3) energy to flip one up spin down, or flip one down
spin up, and rearrange the new configuration to
Figure 1 shows some typical configurations. The
minimize the energy.
relations (2) and (3) are all we need to calculate
We calculate first the cost of fl. ipping one down
exactly the stability intervals for all. possible
spin. There is now one more pth-nearest-neigh-
rational fractions of up spins.
bor interaction. Since (2) and (3) must still hold,
Consider the situation where the chain is de-
r~ pth-nearest-neighbor distances r~+ 1 must be
formed into a loop of length N. The phase char-
replaced by r~ + 1 pth-nearest-neighbor distances
acterized by q =m/n is stable as long as it costs
X,.~ =r~, and the total change in energy is
b. U(& —& ) = 2H + 4(r, + 1)J(r,) —4 r,J(r, + 1) + 4(r, + 1)J(r,) —4 r,J(r, + 1) +. . .
+4nJ(n —1) —4(n —1)J(n)+. . . + 8nJ(2n —1) —4(2n —1)J(2n)+. . . (4a)
where x =n, r, =2n, . . . , have been inserted. Simil. arly the energy cost of flipping one up spin is
U (& —&) = —2H —4(r, + 1)J(r,) + 4 r,J(x, + 1) —4(r, + 1)J(r,) + 4 r P(r, + 1) —.
—4(n+1)J(n)+4nJ(n+1) —.. . —4(2n 1+)J(2n) 8+nJ(2n+1) —.. . . (4b)
The interval in H, &H(m/n), where the phase is stable is determined simply by setting (4a) and (4b)
equal to zero, respectively:
~EH(q =m/n) =nJ(n+ 1)+nJ(n —1) —2nJ(n)+ 2nJ(2n+ 1)+ 2nJ(2n —1) —4nJ(2n)+. . .
+pnJ(pn+ 1)+pnJ(pn - 1) —2pnJ(pn)+. .. .
Note that hH is independent of the numerator rn.
If we make the assumption that the interaction 4 !
Figure 2 shows q vs H. An interaction J(i)
is of infinite range and convex, J(i+1)+J(i —1) '
= i was chosen. Only phases which are stable
—2J'(i) & 0, then AH(m/n) is positive and finite for in an interval AH/J(l) &10 are shown. The '
all values of re~ and n. Also, it is easy to show curve has no finite jumps. To illustrate the self-
that if ~H is summed over all rational values the similarity of the function a part of it has been
whole interval of 8 is "filled up. " We have thus magnified by a factor 10 in the ins, et.
proven the existence of the complete devil's stair- The states formed by flipping one spin starting
case for a vt. ry general class of interactions, in- from a simple commensurate phase with q = 1/m
cluding the power-law interactions expected for have a simple structure. Figures 3(a) and 3(b)
the intercalation compounds, and the exponentially ' phase and the configuration which
show the q = —,
decaying Coulomb interactions expected for the has one more up spin. Th~ee defects are formed
neutral-ionic transition. (infinitely far apart for an infinite system) al-

order commensurate phases vanish at some tem-

q=-, t l l t l l t l l t l l t l l t l l t l l t ll
perature T„-16T,/n'. At a given nonzero tem-
l t l l t l t l l t l l t l t l l t l l t l t ltl perature there are thus only a finite number of
tI phases. The high-order C phases give way to a
t l t l t l t t l t l t l t l t t l t l t l t l
'"' floating incommensurate phase. The phase with
q = 2 plays a special rol. e: We expect a transition
directly to a paramagnetic phase all the way down
FIG. 3. (a) The commensurate structure with q = 3,
to 7 =0.
and (b) the configuration with one more "up" spin (the
We would like to thank E. Domany for useful
lowest excited states for values of Q where the q =3 discussions. This work was supported in part by
phase is stable). Note the formation of defects or U. S. Department of Energy Contract No. DE-
"solitons" with fractional spin S* = 3, indicated by an AC02-76 CH00016.
arrow below the array. (c) The lowest excited state
of the q 2 phase, with S*= 2 solitons.

though only one spin has been flipped. Hence, the ~

~Permanent address,
spin of each defect is 8*=-', . The nature of this 'For a review see P. Bak, to be published.
fractional spin is very similar to the fractional P. Bak and J. von Boehm, Phys. Rev. B 21, 5297
(1980) .
charges discussed by Su, Schrieffer, and Heeg-
er. The situation for q = 2 is topol. ogically P. Bak, Phys. Rev. Lett. 46, 791 (1981); A. Aharony
equivalent with the situation for the antiferromag- and P. Bak, Phys. Rev. B 23, 4770 (1981).
~M. E. Fisher and W. Selke, Phys. Rev. Lett. 44,
netic Heisenberg model as worked out by Fa-
deev. "
Topological solitons with spin S*=& are
1502 (1980).
5B. Mandelbrot, I I
ractals: ourn, Chance, and Di-
expected in this case [Fig. 3(c)]. mension (Freeman, San Fransisco, 1977).
Until now, we have addressed only the problem S. Aubry, in Solitons and Condensed Matter Physics,
of finding the ground state. What happens at non- edited by A. R. Bishop and T. Schneider (Springer,
zero temperature~ A d-dimensional model can London, 1979), p. 264.
be constructed by adding ferromagnetic interac- ~S. Safran, Phys. Rev. Lett. 44, 937 (1980).
tions in the d-1 perpendicular directions. J. Hubbard and J. B. Torrance, Phys. Rev. Lett.
Drawing on the general insight achieved in Refs. 47, 1750 (1981).
~J. B. Torrance, J. E. Vazquez, J. J. Mayerle, and
1-4 we expect that in three dimensions all com- V. Y. Lee, Phys. Rev. Lett. 46, 253 (1981).
mensurate phases extend to finite temperature, ' J. Hubbard, Phys. Rev. B 17, 494 (1978).
probably all the way to the transition temperature ~~V. L. Pokrovsky and G. V. Uimin, J. Phys. C 11,
7.', where the system becomes paramagnetic. At 3535 (1978).
nonzero temperature, in particular near T, , "W. P. Su, J. R. Schrieffer, and A. J. Heeger, Phys.
Rev. Lett. 42, 1698 (1978).
there may be incommensurate phases, of finite '3L. D. Fadeev, Zap. Nauchn. Sem. Leningrad Otd.
measure, between the C phases. Mat. Inst. Steklov. 109, 1981.
Generalizing the results derived by Vill. ain and '4J. Villain and P. Bak, J. Phys. (Paris) 42, 657
Bak, ' we expect that in two dimensions the high- (1981). See also S. Ostlund Phys. Rev. B 24, 398 (1981).