Geometric approach to fragile topology beyond symmetry indicators


We present a framework to systematically address topological phases when finer partitionings of bands are taken into account, rather than only considering the two subspaces spanned by valence and conduction bands. Focusing on $C_2\mathcal{T}$–symmetric systems that have gained recent attention, for example, in the context of layered van-der-Waals graphene heterostructures, we relate these insights to homotopy groups of Grassmannians and flag varieties, which in turn correspond to cohomology classes and Wilson-flow approaches. We furthermore make use of a geometric construction, the so-called Plücker embedding, to induce windings in the band structure necessary to facilitate nontrivial topology. Specifically, this directly relates to the parametrization of the Grassmannian, which describes partitioning of an arbitrary band structure and is embedded in a better manageable exterior product space. From a physical perspective, our construction encapsulates and elucidates the concepts of fragile topological phases beyond symmetry indicators as well as non-Abelian reciprocal braiding of band nodes that arises when the multiple gaps are taken into account. The adopted geometric viewpoint most importantly culminates in a direct and easily implementable method to construct model Hamiltonians to study such phases, constituting a versatile theoretical tool.

Phys. Rev. B 102, 115135 (2020)