Orbital Landau level dependence of the fractional quantum Hall effect in quasi-two dimensional electron layers: finite-thickness effects

Michael R. Peterson 1, Th. Jolicoeur 2, S. Das Sarma 3

Physical Review B 78 (2008) 155308

The fractional quantum Hall effect (FQHE) in the second orbital Landau level at filling factor 5/2 remains enigmatic and motivates our work. We consider the effect of the quasi-2D nature of the experimental FQH system on a number of FQH states (fillings 1/3, 1/5, 1/2) in the lowest, second, and third Landau levels (LLL, SLL, TLL,) by calculating the overlap, as a function of quasi-2D layer thickness, between the exact ground state of a model Hamiltonian and the consensus variational wavefunctions (Laughlin wavefunction for 1/3 and 1/5 and the Moore-Read Pfaffian wavefunction for 1/2). Using large overlap as a stability, or FQHE robustness, criterion we find the FQHE does not occur in the TLL (for any thickness), is the most robust for zero thickness in the LLL for 1/3 and 1/5 and for 11/5 in the SLL, and is most robust at finite-thickness (4-5 magnetic lengths) in the SLL for the mysterious 5/2 state and the 7/3 state. No FQHE is found at 1/2 in the LLL for any thickness. We examine the orbital effects of an in-plane (parallel) magnetic field finding its application effectively reduces the thickness and could destroy the FQHE at 5/2 and 7/3, while enhancing it at 11/5 as well as for LLL FQHE states. The in-plane field effects could thus be qualitatively different in the LLL and the SLL by virtue of magneto-orbital coupling through the finite thickness effect. In the torus geometry, we show the appearance of the threefold topological degeneracy expected for the Pfaffian state which is enhanced by thickness corroborating our findings from overlap calculations. Our results have ramifications for wavefunction engineering--the possibility of creating an optimal experimental system where the 5/2 FQHE state is more likely described by the Pfaffian state with applications to topological quantum computing.

  • 1. Condensed Matter theory center, departement of physic.,
    Condensed matter theory center
  • 2. Laboratoire de Physique Théorique et Modèles Statistiques (LPTMS),
    CNRS : UMR8626 – Université Paris XI - Paris Sud
  • 3. Condensed Matter Theory Center, Department of Physics,
    University of Maryland at College Park