Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2016

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



The fractional quantum Hall (FQH) effect plays a prominent role in the study of topological phases of matter and of strongly correlated electron systems in general. FQH systems have been demonstrated to show many interesting novel properties such as fractional charges, and are believed to harbor even more intriguing phenomena such as fractional statistics. However, there remain many interesting questions to be addressed in this regime. The work reported in this thesis aims to push the envelope of our understanding of the low-energy properties of FQH states using microscopic principles. In the first part of the thesis, we present a systematic perturbative approach to study excitations in the thin cylinder/torus limit of the quantum Hall states. The approach is applied to the Haldane-Rezayi and Gaffnian quantum Hall states, which are both expected to have gapless excitations in the usual two-dimensional thermodynamic limit. For the Haldane-Rezayi state, we confirm that gapless excitations are present also in the ``one-dimensional'' thermodynamic limit of an infinite thin cylinder, in agreement with earlier considerations based on the wave functions alone. In contrast, we identify the lowest excitations of the Gaffnian state in the thin cylinder limit, and conclude that they are gapped, using a combination of perturbative and numerical means. We discuss possible scenarios for the cross-over between the two-dimensional and the one-dimensional thermodynamic limit in this case. In the second part of the thesis, we study the low energy spectral properties of positive center-of-mass conserving two-body Hamiltonians as they arise in models of FQH states. Starting from the observation that positive many-body Hamiltonians must have ground state energies that increase monotonously in particle number, we explore what general additional constraints can be obtained for two-body interactions with "center-of-mass conservation" symmetry, both in the presence and absence of particle-hole symmetry. We find general bounds that constrain the evolution of the ground state energy with particle number, and in particular constrain the chemical potential at T=0. Special attention is given to Hamiltonians with zero modes, in which case similar bounds on the first excited state are also obtained, using a duality property. In this case, in particular an upper bound on the charge gap is also obtained. We further comment on center-of-mass and relative-decomposition in disk geometry within the framework of second quantization.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Alexander Seidel

Committee Members

Renato Feres, Zohar Nussinov, Michael C. Ogilivie, Stuart A. Solin, Li Yang


Permanent URL: https://doi.org/doi:10.7936/K7154FF0