• Register
PhysicsOverflow is a next-generation academic platform for physicists and astronomers, including a community peer review system and a postgraduate-level discussion forum analogous to MathOverflow.

Welcome to PhysicsOverflow! PhysicsOverflow is an open platform for community peer review and graduate-level Physics discussion.

Please help promote PhysicsOverflow ads elsewhere if you like it.


PO is now at the Physics Department of Bielefeld University!

New printer friendly PO pages!

Migration to Bielefeld University was successful!

Please vote for this year's PhysicsOverflow ads!

Please do help out in categorising submissions. Submit a paper to PhysicsOverflow!

... see more

Tools for paper authors

Submit paper
Claim Paper Authorship

Tools for SE users

Search User
Reclaim SE Account
Request Account Merger
Nativise imported posts
Claim post (deleted users)
Import SE post

Users whose questions have been imported from Physics Stack Exchange, Theoretical Physics Stack Exchange, or any other Stack Exchange site are kindly requested to reclaim their account and not to register as a new user.

Public \(\beta\) tools

Report a bug with a feature
Request a new functionality
404 page design
Send feedback


(propose a free ad)

Site Statistics

205 submissions , 163 unreviewed
5,054 questions , 2,207 unanswered
5,347 answers , 22,728 comments
1,470 users with positive rep
818 active unimported users
More ...

  Physics application of $SO(8)$ and Spin(8) triality

+ 3 like - 0 dislike

Triality is a relationship among three vector spaces. It describes those special features of the Dynkin diagram D4 and the associated Lie group Spin(8), the double cover of 8-dimensional rotation group SO(8).

SO(8) is unique among the simple Lie groups in that its Dynkin diagram (below) (D4 under the Dynkin classification) possesses a three-fold symmetry. This gives rise to a surprising feature of Spin(8) known as triality. Related to this is the fact that the two spinor representations, as well as the fundamental vector representation, of Spin(8) are all eight-dimensional (for all other spin groups the spinor representation is either smaller or larger than the vector representation). The triality automorphism of Spin(8) lives in the outer automorphism group of Spin(8) which is isomorphic to the symmetric group $S_3$ that permutes these three representations.

enter image description here

What are physics applications of $SO(8)$ and Spin(8) triality?

For example, one of physics applications of $SO(8)$ and Spin(8) triality is that, in the classifications of interacting fermionic topological phases protected by global symmetries, the 1+1D BDI Time-Reversal invariant Topological Superconductor and 2+1D $Z_2$-Ising-symmetric Topological Superconductor have $\mathbb{Z}_8$ classifications (see a related post here), that can be deduced from adding non-trivial four-fermion interaction terms respect the $SO(8)$ and Spin(8) triality, see for example the Appendix A of this web version (free access).

Are there other examples, other applications in physics?

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2017-09-30 21:54 (UTC), posted by SE-user wonderich

asked Sep 29, 2017 in Mathematics by wonderich (1,500 points) [ revision history ]
recategorized Sep 30, 2017 by Dilaton

Can this be related to the absence of associativity in the octonion algebra? Is it this absence that prevents octonion algebera from being a Lie algebra, a Clifford algebra?

Your answer

Please use answers only to (at least partly) answer questions. To comment, discuss, or ask for clarification, leave a comment instead.
To mask links under text, please type your text, highlight it, and click the "link" button. You can then enter your link URL.
Please consult the FAQ for as to how to format your post.
This is the answer box; if you want to write a comment instead, please use the 'add comment' button.
Live preview (may slow down editor)   Preview
Your name to display (optional):
Privacy: Your email address will only be used for sending these notifications.
Anti-spam verification:
If you are a human please identify the position of the character covered by the symbol $\varnothing$ in the following word:
Then drag the red bullet below over the corresponding character of our banner. When you drop it there, the bullet changes to green (on slow internet connections after a few seconds).
Please complete the anti-spam verification

user contributions licensed under cc by-sa 3.0 with attribution required

Your rights