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Hofstadter Topology with Real Space Invariants and Reentrant Projective Symmetries

Adding magnetic flux to a band structure breaks Bloch’s theorem by realizing a projective representation of the translation group. The resulting Hofstadter spectrum encodes the nonperturbative response of the bands to flux. Depending on their topology, adding flux can enforce a bulk gap closing (a Hofstadter semimetal) or boundary state pumping (a Hofstadter topological insulator). In this Letter, we present a real space classification of these Hofstadter phases. We give topological indices in terms of symmetry-protected real space invariants, which reveal the bulk and boundary responses of fragile topological states to flux. In fact, we find that the flux periodicity in tight-binding models causes the symmetries which are broken by the magnetic field to reenter at strong flux where they form projective point group representations. We completely classify the reentrant projective point groups and find that the Schur multipliers which define them are Arahanov-Bohm phases calculated along the bonds of the crystal. We find that a nontrivial Schur multiplier is enough to predict and protect the Hofstadter response with only zero-flux topology.

Read the whole article on Physical Review Letters.