Lecture 17: Berry Phase

( M.V. Berry, Proc. R. Soc. Lond., 1984)

Berry face What is the geometric phase if the system is asked to move along a closed loop in the λ parameter space? The obtained geometric phase for such a closed adiabatic process is called “Berry phase”.

λ space

What we have learned from our last lecture: A slowly changing Hamiltonian:


General solution:

In the adiabatic limit: with

dynamical phase

Consider a closed loop in the λ space:

Now let us assume a three-dimensional λ space spanned by λ1 λ 2 λ 3



Using stokes’ theorem in the three-dimensional parameter space:

a closed loop forms a surface

dS is of magnitude dS, along the radial direction.

Berry phase and parallel transport
(parallel transport is an important concept in differential geometry) Parallel transport on a surface (quite intuitive)

What is the loose meaning of parallel transport in QM: To change states with a zero relative phase convention

Let us do this parallel transport using eigenstates Let
Parallel transport
If considering one cycle:

But this is exactly the Berry phase we derived before!

The classic example for Berry phase: a spin -- ½ particle in a slowly rotating magnetic field:


Ground state of the Hamiltonian

is given by the spin-up state (up along the B direction)
(this choice is not unique because we can multiply an arbitrary overall phase)

For a closed curve with constant ө, the loop is parameterized by φ alone:

continued on the next slide

Continuing the previous slide

Berry Phase is then given by

Classroom exercise:
What is the Berry phase of the spin-down state if a magnetic field is rotating adiabatically with a fixed ө value?

How to calculate the Berry phase if the magnetic field forms a more general loop on a sphere with radius r (the magnitude of the magnetic field is fixed and not important) ?

Here we have regarded the loop as a function of three variables, Bx, By, and Bz, which are further expressed in terms of two independent spherical coordinates (ө,φ). To further evaluate this expression we need to express gradient and curl in spherical coordinates.

Gradient in spherical coordinates:

Curl in spherical coordinates:


Finally, (if the stokes theorem is valid)

solid angle formed by the surface enclosed by the loop

Concluding remarks:

“Berry phase” is being proposed as a potential tool to realize robust
quantum phase manipulation and hence robust quantum information processing. This is because Berry phase does not depend on the speed at which we manipulate the quantum system (of course, must be slow enough to ensure adiabatic approximation), but only depends on the geometry of the closed path.

Note however, because dynamical phases and geometric phases always go together. To reach the above goal we should also make sure that the dynamical phase is known to a high precision (a task that could be realized by designing two parameter loops whose dynamical phases cancel each other).

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