Quasiparticles in the Quantum Hall Effect

University dissertation from Stockholm : Fysikum

Abstract: The fractional quantum Hall effect (FQHE), discovered in 1982 in a two-dimensional electron system, has generated a wealth of successful theory and new concepts in condensed matter physics, but is still not fully understood. The possibility of having nonabelian quasiparticle statistics has recently attracted attention on purely theoretical grounds but also because of its potential applications in topologically protected quantum computing.This thesis focuses on the quasiparticles using three different approaches. The first is an effective Chern-Simons theory description, where the noncommutativity imposed on the classical space variables captures the incompressibility. We propose a construction of the quasielectron and illustrate how many-body quantum effects are emulated by a classical noncommutative theory.The second approach involves a study of quantum Hall states on a torus where one of the periods is taken to be almost zero. Characteristic quantum Hall properties survive in this limit in which they become very simple to understand. We illustrate this by giving a simple counting argument for degeneracy 2n-1, pertinent to nonabelian statistics, in the presence of 2n quasiholes in the Moore-Read state and generalise this result to 2n-k quasiholes and k quasielectrons.In the third approach, we study the topological nature of the degeneracy 2n-1 by using a recently proposed analogy between the Moore-Read state and the two-dimensional spin-polarized p-wave BCS state. We study a version of this problem where one can use techniques developed in the context of high-Tc superconductors to turn the vortex background into an effective gauge field in a Dirac equation. Topological arguments in the form of index theory gives the degeneracy 2n-1 for 2n vortices.