Chemistry Journal of Moldova

SPONTANEOUS SYMMETRY BREAKING AS A LAW OF NATURE

Author(s):

Isaac Bersuker


Field: Physical chemistry and chemical physics
Type: Invited paper
Issue: 2023 Volume 18, no.2
Pages: 7-14
Keywords:

adiabatic potential, electronic degeneracy, Jahn-Teller effect, pseudo Jahn-Teller effect, spontaneous symmetry breaking.


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Abstract (PDF)
Graphical Abstract:
This paper discusses the notion of symmetry of polyatomic systems defined as invariance under transformations, and showes that this important property of atomic matter is extremely vulnerable, and may undergo internal breakdown, subject to the presence of electronic degeneracy or pseudodegeneracy. It is shown that electronic degeneracy and its extended form, called pseudodegeneracy, are actually the only source of spontaneous symmetry breaking (SSB) in nature, including all forms of matter, beginning with elementary particles, via nuclei, atoms, molecules, and solids. Theoretically, the vulnerability of the notion of symmetry is due to the fact that, following quantum mechanics, the separation of the motion of electrons and nuclei (and, similarly, the separation of motions of elementary particles) is approximate, and hence the classical notion of polyatomic space configuration is approximate too, with SSB as one of its main violation.


 


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