The nature of the fractional quantum Hall effect at ν=1/2, observed in wide quantum wells almost three decades ago, is still under debate. Previous studies have investigated it using the variational Monte Carlo method, which assumes that the transverse wave function and the gap between the symmetric and antisymmetric subbands obtained in a local density approximation at zero magnetic field remain valid even at high perpendicular magnetic fields; this method also ignores the effect of Landau level mixing. We develop in this work a three-dimensional fixed-phase diffusion Monte Carlo method, which gives, in a single framework, the total energies of various candidate states in a finite width quantum well, including Landau level mixing, directly in a large magnetic field. This method can be applied to one-component states and also to two-component states in the limit where the symmetric and antisymmetric bands are nearly degenerate. Our three-dimensional fixed-phase diffusion Monte Carlo calculations find that the one-component composite-fermion Fermi sea and the one-component Pfaffian states are very close in energy for a range of quantum-well widths and densities, suggesting that the observed 1/2 fractional quantum Hall state in wide quantum wells is likely to be the one-component Pfaffian state. We hope that this will motivate further experimental studies of this state.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics