A fundamental concept in physics is the Fermi surface, the constant-energy surface in momentum space encompassing all the occupied quantum states at absolute zero temperature. In 1960, Luttinger postulated that the area enclosed by the Fermi surface should remain unaffected even when electron-electron interaction is turned on, so long as the interaction does not cause a phase transition. Understanding what determines the Fermi surface size is a crucial and yet unsolved problem in strongly interacting systems such as high-Tc superconductors. Here we present a precise test of the Luttinger theorem for a two-dimensional Fermi liquid system where the exotic quasiparticles themselves emerge from the strong interaction, namely, for the Fermi sea of composite fermions (CFs). Via direct, geometric resonance measurements of the CFs' Fermi wave vector down to very low electron densities, we show that the Luttinger theorem is obeyed over a significant range of interaction strengths, in the sense that the Fermi sea area is determined by the density of the minority carriers in the lowest Landau level. Our data also address the ongoing debates on whether or not CFs obey particle-hole symmetry, and if they are Dirac particles. We find that particle-hole symmetry is obeyed, but the measured Fermi sea area differs quantitatively from that predicted by the Dirac model for CFs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)