Super Hamiltonian in superspace for incommensurate superlattices and quasicrystals

M. Valiente*, C. W. Duncan, N. T. Zinner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Infinite quasiperiodic arrangements in space, such as quasicrystals, are typically described as projections of higher-dimensional periodic lattices onto the physical dimension. The concept of a reference higher-dimensional space, called a superspace, has proved useful in relation to quasiperiodic systems. Although some quantum-mechanical systems in quasiperiodic media have been shown to admit quasiperiodic states, any sort of general Hamiltonian formalism in superspace is lacking to this date. Here, we show how to extend generic quantum-mechanical Hamiltonians to higher dimensions in such a way that eigenstates of the original Hamiltonian are obtained as projections of the Hamiltonian in superspace, which we call the super Hamiltonian.We apply the super Hamiltonian formalism to a simple, yet realistic one-dimensional quantum particle in a quasiperiodic potential without the tight-binding approximation, and obtain continuously labelled eigenstates of the system corresponding to a continuous spectrum. All states corresponding to the continuum are quasiperiodic.We also obtain the Green's functions for continuum states in closed form and, from them, the density of states and local density of states, and scattering states off defects and impurities. The closed form of this one-dimensional Green's function is equally valid for any continuum state in any one-dimensional single-particle quantum system admitting continuous spectrum.With the basis set we use, which is periodic in superspace, and therefore quasiperiodic in physical space, we find that Anderson-localised states are also quasiperiodic if distributional solutions are admitted, but circumvent this difficulty by generalising the superspace method to open boundary conditions.We also obtain an accurate estimate of the critical point where the ground state of the system changes from delocalised to Anderson localised, and of the critical exponent for the effective mass. Finally, we calculate, within the superspace formalism, topological edge states for the semi-infinite system, and observe that these exist, in the delocalised phase, within all spectral gaps we have been able to resolve. Our formalism opens up a plethora of possibilities for studying the physics of electrons, atoms or light in quasicrystalline and other aperiodic media.

Original languageEnglish
Article number065301
JournalJournal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2021


  • Localisation
  • Optical lattices
  • Quasicrystals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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