It is known that the Kitaev Hamiltonian and its spin-liquid ground state both break the $SU(2)$ spin-rotation symmetry. So what's the spin-rotation-symmetry group for the Kitaev model?

It's obvious that the Kitaev Hamiltonian is invariant under $\pi$ rotation about the three spin axes, and in some recent papers, the authors give the "group"(see the **Comments** in the end) $G=\left \{1,e^{i\pi S_x}, e^{i\pi S_y},e^{i\pi S_z} \right \}$, where $(e^{i\pi S_x}, e^{i\pi S_y},e^{i\pi S_z})=(i\sigma_x,i\sigma_y,i\sigma_z )$, with $\mathbf{S}=\frac{1}{2}\mathbf{\sigma}$ and $\mathbf{\sigma}$ being the Pauli matrices.

But how about the quaternion group $Q_8=\left \{1,-1,e^{i\pi S_x}, e^{-i\pi S_x},e^{i\pi S_y},e^{-i\pi S_y},e^{i\pi S_z}, e^{-i\pi S_z}\right \}$, with $-1$ representing the $2\pi$ spin-rotation operator. On the other hand, consider the dihedral group $D_2=\left \{ \begin{pmatrix}1 & 0 &0 \\ 0& 1 & 0\\ 0&0 &1 \end{pmatrix},\begin{pmatrix}1 & 0 &0 \\ 0& -1 & 0\\ 0&0 &-1 \end{pmatrix},\begin{pmatrix}-1 & 0 &0 \\ 0& 1 & 0\\ 0&0 &-1 \end{pmatrix},\begin{pmatrix}-1 & 0 &0 \\ 0& -1 & 0\\ 0&0 &1 \end{pmatrix} \right \}$, and these $SO(3)$ matrices can also implement the $\pi$ spin rotation.

So, which one you choose, $G,Q_8$, or $D_2$ ? Notice that $Q_8$ is a subgroup of $SU(2)$, while $D_2$ is a subgroup of $SO(3)$. Furthermore, $D_2\cong Q_8/Z_2$, just like $SO(3)\cong SU(2)/Z_2$, where $Z_2=\left \{ \begin{pmatrix}1 & 0 \\ 0 &1\end{pmatrix} ,\begin{pmatrix}-1 & 0 \\ 0 &-1 \end{pmatrix} \right \}$.

**Comments:** The $G$ defined above is **even not a group**, since, e.g., $(e^{i\pi S_z})^2=-1\notin G$.

**Remarks:** Notice here that $D_2$ can *not* be viewed as a *subgroup* of $Q_8$, just like $SO(3)$ can *not* be viewed as a *subgroup* of $SU(2)$.

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2014-03-09 08:38 (UCT), posted by SE-user K-boy