Composite fermions (CFs), exotic quasiparticles formed by pairing an electron and an even number of magnetic flux quanta, emerge at high magnetic fields in an interacting electron system, and can explain phenomena such as the fractional quantum Hall state (FQHS) and other many-body phases. CFs possess an effective mass (mCF) whose magnitude is inversely related to the most fundamental property of a FQHS, namely its energy gap. We present here experimental measurements of mCF in ultrahigh quality two-dimensional electron systems confined to GaAs quantum wells of varying thickness. An advantage of measuring mCF over gap measurements is that mass values are insensitive to disorder and are therefore ideal for comparison with theoretical calculations, especially for high-order FQHS. Our data reveal that mCF increases with increasing well width, reflecting a decrease in the energy gap as the electron layer becomes thicker and the in-plane Coulomb energy softens. Comparing our measured masses with available theoretical results, we find significant quantitative discrepancies, highlighting that more rigorous and accurate calculations are needed to explain the experimental data.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics