# Topological quantum order: Stability under local perturbations

## Abstract

We study zero-temperature stability of topological phases of matter under weak time-independent perturbations. Our results apply to quantum spin Hamiltonians that can be written as a sum of geometrically local commuting projectors on a D-dimensional lattice with certain topological order conditions. Given such a Hamiltonian H0, we prove that there exists a constant threshold ε{lunate}>0 such that for any perturbation V representable as a sum of short-range bounded-norm interactions, the perturbed Hamiltonian H=H0+ε{lunate}V has well-defined spectral bands originating from low-lying eigenvalues of H0. These bands are separated from the rest of the spectra and from each other by a constant gap. The band originating from the smallest eigenvalue of H0 has exponentially small width (as a function of the lattice size). Our proof exploits a discrete version of Hamiltonian flow equations, the theory of relatively bounded operators, and the Lieb-Robinson bound. © 2010 American Institute of Physics.