Anisotropic fractional quantum Hall effect (SUSTech candidates only)


Please contact Dr Zlatko Papic (Leeds) or Assistant Professor Hao Wang (SUSTech) to discuss this project further informally. 

Project description

The fractional quantum Hall effect (FQHE) is a remarkable phenomenon where a two-dimensional  electron gas forms topological phases of matter – the new kinds of quantum liquids with exotic “topological” order and excitations that behave differently from any known elementary particle.  The investigations into the QHE have revolutionised condensed matter physics and led to Nobel  prizes in 1998 (for the experimental discovery by Tsui and Stomer, and the first theoretical description by Laughlin) and in 2016 for applications of topology to condensed matter physics (awarded to Thouless and Haldane). It has also been proposed that exotic FQHE phases may be  used as building blocks for topologically-protected quantum computers, which makes their study important for quantum technology. 

For the past 30 years, the theoretical research has mostly focused on isotropic quantum Hall  phases. Since Haldane’s work in 2011 [Phys. Rev. Lett. 107, 115801 (2011)], it has been realised  that much new physics is hiding in anisotropic FQH systems. For example, anisotropy can reveal the dynamical degrees of freedom of FQH systems that behave like “quantum geometry”, with many  exciting connections to high-energy physics. This project will build upon our recent work [selected as “Editors Suggestion” in Phys. Rev. Lett. 118, 146403 (2017)] where we generalised the  theoretical formalism known as “Haldane pseudopotentials” to describe the anisotropic FQHE.  With the help of this formalism, we will explore new types of anisotropic non-Abelian states, such  as the celebrated Moore-Read state whose excitations are “Majorana fermions”, the intriguing  possibility of the nematic FQHE, and the experimental consequences of anisotropy in graphene  materials, where beautiful observations of FQHE have recently been reported [see  arXiv:1611.07113].

The project is suitable for highly motivated candidates with excellent analytical skills in the general  area of quantum many body physics. Additionally, computational background is required as the  project will also involve numerical simulations of FQHE (using techniques such as exact diagonalisation and density matrix renormalisation group). 

Entry requirements

Applicants should have, or expect to obtain, a minimum of a UK upper second class honours degree in Physics or a related discipline, or equivalent.

How to apply

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you have English language proficiency of at least IELTS 6.5 with no component below 6.0, or equivalent.

Applications should be submitted via SUSTech in the first instance. Following nomination by SUSTech, formal applications for Split-site research degree study should then be made online through the University of Leeds website. Please state clearly in the research information section that the PhD you wish to be considered for is ‘Anisotropic fractional quantum Hall effect (SUSTech candidates only)’ as well as Dr Zlatko Papic as your proposed supervisor.

If you require any further information please contact the Graduate School Office e: