Physics professor co-edits new book on fractional quantum Hall effect

July 20, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Jainendra K. Jain, Evan Pugh University Professor and Erwin W. Mueller Professor of Physics at Penn State, has co-edited a book with Bertrand I. Halperin, Hollis Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, emeritus at Harvard University. The book, published by World Scientific and titled “Fractional Quantum Hall Effects: New Developments,” brings together leading voices studying the fractional quantum Hall effect to provide a coherent account of the exciting new developments and the current status of the field.

Klaus von Klitzing, the discoverer of quantum Hall effect and winner of 1985 Nobel Prize in physics, provides the book’s forward. The book is the first to update the field since Jain’s previous book, “Composite Fermions,” published by Cambridge University Press in 2007.

The fractional quantum Hall effect describes plateaus the Hall conductance of electrons confined to two dimensions, cooled to near absolute zero, and under the influence of a strong magnetic field. As a phenomenon, the fractional quantum Hall effect rivals superconductivity and could see future application in quantum computing, according to Jain.

The integer quantum Hall effect discovered by von Klitzing described a phenomenon where the conductance plateaus are proportional to integers. The fractional quantum Hall effect describes plateaus of the Hall conductance of electrons confined to two dimensions, cooled to near absolute zero, and under the influence of a strong magnetic field. One of Jain’s main contributions to the field, which he discusses in a chapter of the book, is the introduction of a new particle called a “composite fermion,” formed from the combination of an electron and the magnetic field, that helped explain the fractional quantum Hall effect.

Jain is a theoretical physicist who is interested in unexpected reorganizations that occur when a large number of particles interact. For his work leading to the discovery of composite fermions, Jain was a co-recipient of the Oliver E. Buckley Prize in 2002, awarded by the American Physical Society for "establishing the composite-fermion model for the half-filled Landau level and other quantized Hall systems." This prize is the highest in the United States in the field of condensed-matter physics.

Jain has received fellowships from the American Physical Society, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. He was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008, and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2012. He received the Distinguished Postdoctoral Alumnus Award from the University of Maryland in 2004, the ACIPA Distinguished Scholar Prize of the Indian Physics Association in 2008, and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur in 2010. He is a co-author of more than 150 scholarly articles and has delivered more than 200 invited lectures at universities and international conferences.

Jain earned his bachelor's degree at Maharaja College in Jaipur, India, in 1979; his master's degree at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, in 1981; and his doctoral degree at Stony Brook University in 1985. Subsequent to postdoctoral work at the University of Maryland and Yale University, he returned in 1989 to Stony Brook as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in 1993 and to professor in 1997. He joined Penn State in the fall of 1998 as Penn State's first Erwin W. Mueller Professor of Physics.

Last Updated July 20, 2020