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    We study perturbations that break gauge symmetries in lattice gauge theories. As a paradigmatic model, we consider the three-dimensional Abelian-Higgs (AH) model with an N-component scalar field and a noncompact gauge field, which is invariant under U(1) gauge and SU(N) transformations. We consider gauge-symmetry breaking perturbations that are quadratic in the gauge field, such as a photon mass term and determine their effect on the critical behavior of the gauge-invariant model, focusing mainly on the continuous transitions associated with the charged fixed point of the AH field theory. We discuss their relevance and compute the (gauge-dependent) exponents that parametrize the departure from the critical behavior (continuum limit) of the gauge-invariant model. We also address the critical behavior of lattice AH models with broken gauge symmetry, showing an effective enlargement of the global symmetry, from U(N) to O(2N), which reflects a peculiar cyclic renormalization-group flow in the space of the lattice AH parameters and of the photon mass.


    Claudio Bonati, Andrea Pelissetto, Ettore Vicari. Breaking of Gauge Symmetry in Lattice Gauge Theories. Physical review letters. 2021 Aug 27;127(9):091601

    PMID: 34506192

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