The local nature of incompressibility of quantum Hall effect

Kendirlik E. M. , Sirt S., Kalkan S. B. , Ofek N., Umansky V., Siddiki A.

NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, vol.8, 2017 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 8
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.1038/ncomms14082
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus


Since the experimental realization of the integer quantum Hall effect in a two-dimensional electron system, the interrelation between the conductance quantization and the topological properties of the system has been investigated. Assuming that the two-dimensional electron system is described by a Bloch Hamiltonian, system is insulating in the bulk of sample throughout the quantum Hall plateau due to a magnetic field induced energy gap. Meanwhile, the system is conducting at the edges resembling a 2+1 dimensional topological insulator without time-reversal symmetry. Here, by our magneto-transport measurements performed on GaAs/AlGaAs high purity Hall bars with two inner contacts we show that incompressible strips formed at the edges result in Hall quantization, even if the bulk is compressible. Consequently, the relationship between the quantum Hall effect and topological bulk insulator breaks for specific field intervals within the plateaus. The measurement of conducting bulk, strongly challenges all existing single-particle theories.