Abstract

Topological states of matter in two-dimensional systems are characterised by the different properties of the edges and the bulk of the system: The edges conduct electrical current while the bulk is insulating. The first well-known example is the quantum Hall effect, which is induced by a perpendicular magnetic field that
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generates chiral edge channels along which the current propagates. Each channel contributes one quantum to the Hall conductivity. Due to the chirality, i.e., all currents propagate in the same direction, backscattering due to impurities is absent, and the Hall conductivity carried by the edge states is therefore protected from perturbations. Another example is the quantum spin Hall effect, induced by intrinsic spin-orbit coupling in absence of a magnetic field. There the edge states are helical, i.e., spin up and down currents propagate oppositely. In this case, the spin Hall conductivity is quantized, and it is protected by time-reversal symmetry from backscattering due to impurities. In Chapter 2 of the thesis, I discuss the combined effect of the magnetic field and intrinsic spin-orbit coupling. In addition, I discuss the influence of the Rashba spin-orbit coupling and of the Zeeman effect. In particular, I show that in absence of magnetic impurities, a weaker form of the quantum spin Hall state persists in the presence of a magnetic field. In addition, I show that the intrinsic spin-orbit coupling and the Zeeman effect act similarly in the low-flux limit. I furthermore analyse the phase transitions induced by intrinsic spin-orbit coupling at a fixed magnetic field, thereby explaining the change of the Hall and spin Hall conductivities at the transition. I also study the subtle interplay between the effects of the different terms in the Hamiltonian. In Chapter 3, I investigate an effective model for HgTe quantum wells doped with Mn ions. Without doping, HgTe quantum wells may exhibit the quantum spin Hall effect, depending on the thickness of the well. The doping with Mn ions modifies the behaviour of the system in two ways: First, the quantum spin Hall gap is reduced in size, and secondly, the system becomes paramagnetic. The latter effect causes a bending of the Landau levels, which is responsible for reentrant behaviour of the (spin) Hall conductivity. I investigate the different types of reentrant behaviour, and I estimate the experimental resolvability of this effect. In Chapter 4, I present a framework to describe the fractional quantum Hall effect in systems with multiple internal degrees of freedom, e.g., spin or pseudospin. This framework describes the so-called flux attachment in terms of a Chern-Simons theory in Hamiltonian form, proposed earlier for systems without internal degrees of freedom. Here, I show a generalization of these results, by replacing the number of attached flux quanta by a matrix. In particular, the plasma analogy proposed by Laughlin still applies, and Kohn’s theorem remains valid. I also show that the results remain valid when the flux-attachment matrix is singular.
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