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Nature. 2008 Apr 17;452(7189):829-34. doi: 10.1038/nature06855.

Observation of a quarter of an electron charge at the nu = 5/2 quantum Hall state.

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1
Braun Center for Submicron Research, Department of Condensed Matter Physics, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel. merav.dolev@weizmann.ac.il

Abstract

The fractional quantum Hall effect, where plateaus in the Hall resistance at values of h/nue2 coexist with zeros in the longitudinal resistance, results from electron correlations in two dimensions under a strong magnetic field. (Here h is Planck's constant, nu the filling factor and e the electron charge.) Current flows along the sample edges and is carried by charged excitations (quasiparticles) whose charge is a fraction of the electron charge. Although earlier research concentrated on odd denominator fractional values of nu, the observation of the even denominator nu = 5/2 state sparked much interest. This state is conjectured to be characterized by quasiparticles of charge e/4, whose statistics are 'non-abelian'-in other words, interchanging two quasiparticles may modify the state of the system into a different one, rather than just adding a phase as is the case for fermions or bosons. As such, these quasiparticles may be useful for the construction of a topological quantum computer. Here we report data on shot noise generated by partitioning edge currents in the nu = 5/2 state, consistent with the charge of the quasiparticle being e/4, and inconsistent with other possible values, such as e/2 and e. Although this finding does not prove the non-abelian nature of the nu = 5/2 state, it is the first step towards a full understanding of these new fractional charges.

PMID:
18421345
DOI:
10.1038/nature06855
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