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Berry phases and unitary transformations

### Abstract

Berry phases for spin are defined for any closed loop made by a vector changing direction in three‐dimensional space. A sequence of rotations moves the vector along the loop. Each rotation is around the axis perpendicular to the moving vector. The Berry phases come from the eigenvalues of the unitary operator for the product of these rotations. The angle of the product rotation is shown to be the solid angle enclosed by the loop. The proof uses the ordinary language of quantum mechanics. The product is calculated from the commutation relations for spin. A general framework is set up to define Berry phases for other transformations and states like those for rotations and spin. The integral formula is derived. Alternatives for dynamics are shown to provide different applications and interpretations of the same mathematics. An example is used to show how one Hamiltonian may be simpler than others. Adiabatic evolution is obtained in the limit as a coupling constant goes to zero, so the adiabatic changes are made by a weak perturbation that acts over a long time. The Berry phase is the same whether the coupling constant is large or small. A rationale for the definition of Berry phases is obtained from any of the alternatives for dynamics. It is particularly clear in both the limit of adiabatic evolution, where the Hamiltonian does not contain the operator that generates Berry phases, and the opposite extreme where the Hamiltonian is the operator that generates Berry phases. The latter is illustrated with an example for spin. The general definition of Berry phases and the method of calculating them are illustrated by obtaining Berry phases from Lorentztransformations. They are similar to those obtained from rotations. A vector traces a loop on a unit hyperboloid instead of the unit sphere. In place of the solid angle, the Berry phases contain the analogous measure of the area enclosed by the loop on the hyperboloid.

The sign is opposite what it is for rotations. The general definition is shown to fit any unitary representation of a semisimple Lie group. The complete set of commuting operators is chosen to contain a basis for a Cartan subalgebra of the Lie algebra of generators. If a sequence of transformations by unitary operators in the group representation takes each operator in the Cartan subalgebra around a loop in the Lie algebra back to the same operator, it can be made by unitary operators in the group representation that have all the properties required for the definition of Berry phases. The loops are made by vectors moving in a real space, the Lie algebra. The motion of the vectors must maintain the lengths and angles defined by the Cartan metric of the Lie algebra. The Berry phases are determined by one loop made by one suitably chosen operator from the Cartan subalgebra.

© 1988 American Institute of Physics

Received 04 August 1987
Accepted 04 May 1988

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/content/aip/journal/jmp/29/9/10.1063/1.527862

1988-09-01

2016-08-27

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