Skip to main content

Loops in 4+1d topological phases

Cornell Affiliated Author(s)


X. Chen
A. Dua
P.-S. Hsin
C.-M. Jian
W. Shirley
C. Xu


2+1d topological phases are well characterized by the fusion rules and braiding/exchange statistics of fractional point excitations. In 4+1d, some topological phases contain only fractional loop excitations. What kind of loop statistics exist? We study the 4+1d gauge theory with 2-form Z2 gauge field (the loop-only toric code) and find that while braiding statistics between two different types of loops can be nontrivial, the self ‘exchange’ statistics are all trivial. In particular, we show that the electric, magnetic, and dyonic loop excitations in the 4+1d toric code are not distinguished by their self-statistics. They tunnel into each other across 3+1d invertible domain walls which in turn give explicit unitary circuits that map the loop excitations into each other. The SL(2, Z2) symmetry that permutes the loops, however, cannot be consistently gauged and we discuss the associated obstruction in the process. Moreover, we discuss a gapless boundary condition dubbed the ‘fractional Maxwell theory’ and show how it can be Higgsed into gapped boundary conditions. We also discuss the generalization of these results from the Z2 gauge group to ZN Copyright X. Chen et al.

Date Published


SciPost Physics





ISBN Number

25424653 (ISSN)




Alternate Journal

SciPost Phys.

Group (Lab)

Chao-Ming Jian Group

Download citation