Contrary to the conventional wisdom in Hermitian systems, a continuous quantum phase transition between gapped phases is shown to occur without closing the energy gap Δ in non-Hermitian quantum many-body systems. Here, the relevant length scale ζ≃vLR/Δ diverges because of the breakdown of the Lieb-Robinson bound on the velocity (i.e., unboundedness of vLR) rather than vanishing of the energy gap Δ. The susceptibility to a change in the system parameter exhibits a singularity due to nonorthogonality of eigenstates. As an illustrative example, we present an exactly solvable model by generalizing Kitaev's toric-code model to a non-Hermitian regime.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)