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Bohrdt, Annabelle; Demler, Eugene; Pollmann, Frank; Knap, Michael; Grusdt, Fabian (2020): Parton theory of angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy spectra in antiferromagnetic Mott insulators. In: Physical Review B, Vol. 102, No. 3, 035139
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Angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES) has revealed peculiar properties of mobile dopants in correlated antiferromagnets (AFMs). But, describing them theoretically, even in simplified toy models, remains a challenge. Here, we study ARPES spectra of a single mobile hole in the t-J model. Recent progress in the microscopic description of mobile dopants allows us to use a geometric decoupling of spin and charge fluctuations at strong couplings, from which we conjecture a one-to-one relation of the one-dopant spectral function and the spectrum of a constituting spinon in the undoped parent AFM. We thoroughly test this hypothesis for a single hole doped into a two-dimensional Heisenberg AFM by comparing our semianalytical predictions to previous quantum Monte Carlo results and our large-scale time-dependent matrix product state calculations of the spectral function. Our conclusion is supported by a microscopic trial wave function describing spinon-chargon bound states, which captures the momentum and t/J dependence of the quasiparticle residue. From our conjecture we speculate that ARPES measurements in the pseudogap phase of cuprates may directly reveal the Dirac-fermion nature of the constituting spinons. Specifically, we demonstrate that our trial wave function provides a microscopic explanation for the sudden drop of spectral weight around the nodal point associated with the formation of Fermi arcs, assuming that additional frustration suppresses long-range AFM ordering. We benchmark our results by studying the crossover from two to one dimension, where spinons and chargons are confined and deconfined, respectively.