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Durham University

Department of Physics

Staff profile

Publication details for Professor Tom Lancaster

Lancaster, T. & Pexton, M. (2015). Reduction and emergence in the fractional quantum Hall state. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 52(Part B): 343-357.

Author(s) from Durham


We present the fractional quantum Hall (FQH) effect as a candidate emergent phenomenon. Unlike some other putative cases of condensed matter emergence (such as thermal phase transitions), the FQH effect is not based on symmetry breaking. Instead FQH states are part of a distinct class of ordered matter that is defined topologically. Topologically ordered states result from complex long-ranged correlations between their constituent parts, such that the system displays strongly irreducible, qualitatively novel properties.