Non-Abelian states of matter

Nature. 2010 Mar 11;464(7286):187-93. doi: 10.1038/nature08915.


Quantum mechanics classifies all elementary particles as either fermions or bosons, and this classification is crucial to the understanding of a variety of physical systems, such as lasers, metals and superconductors. In certain two-dimensional systems, interactions between electrons or atoms lead to the formation of quasiparticles that break the fermion-boson dichotomy. A particularly interesting alternative is offered by 'non-Abelian' states of matter, in which the presence of quasiparticles makes the ground state degenerate, and interchanges of identical quasiparticles shift the system between different ground states. Present experimental studies attempt to identify non-Abelian states in systems that manifest the fractional quantum Hall effect. If such states can be identified, they may become useful for quantum computation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.