Abstract

The S=1 Affleck-Kennedy-Lieb-Tasaki (AKLT) quantum spin chain was the first rigorous example of an isotropic spin system in the Haldane phase. The conjecture that the S=3/2 AKLT model on the hexagonal lattice is also in a gapped phase has remained open, despite being a fundamental problem of ongoing relevance to condensed-matter physics and quantum information theory. Here we confirm this conjecture by demonstrating the size-independent lower bound Δ>0.006 on the spectral gap of the hexagonal model with periodic boundary conditions in the thermodynamic limit. Our approach consists of two steps combining mathematical physics and high-precision computational physics. We first prove a mathematical finite-size criterion which gives an analytical, size-independent bound on the spectral gap if the gap of a particular cut-out subsystem of 36 spins exceeds a certain threshold value. Then we verify the finite-size criterion numerically by performing state-of-the-art DMRG calculations on the subsystem.

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