Ground-state stability and the nature of the spin glass phase

C. M. Newman, D. L. Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We propose an approach toward understanding the spin glass phase at zero and low temperature by studying the stability of a spin glass ground state against perturbations of a single coupling. After reviewing the concepts of flexibility, critical droplet, and related quantities for both finite- and infinite-volume ground states, we study some of their properties and review three models in which these quantities are partially or fully understood. We also review a recent result showing the connection between our approach and that of disorder chaos. We then view four proposed scenarios for the low-temperature spin glass phase - replica symmetry breaking, scaling-droplet, TNT, and chaotic pairs - through the lens of the predictions of each scenario for the lowest-energy large-lengthscale excitations above the ground state. Using a new concept called s-criticality, which quantifies the sensitivity of ground states to single-bond coupling variations, we show that each of these four pictures can be identified with different critical droplet geometries and energies. We also investigate necessary and sufficient conditions for the existence of multiple incongruent ground states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number044132
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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