The quantized Hall insulator: A "quantum" signature of a "classical" transport regime?

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Experimental studies of the transitions from a primary quantum Hall (QH) liquid at filling factor v = 1/k (with k an odd integer) to the insulator have indicated a "quantized Hall insulator" (QHI) behavior: while the longitudinal resistivity diverges with decreasing temperature and current bias, the Hall resistivity remains quantized at the value kh/e2. We review the experimental results and the theoretical studies addressing this phenomenon. In particular, we discuss a theoretical approach which employs a model of the insulator as a random network of weakly coupled puddles of QH liquid at fixed v. This model is proved to exhibit a robust quantization of the Hall resistivity, provided the electron transport on the network is incoherent. Subsequent theoretical studies have focused on the controversy whether the assumption of incoherence is necessary. The emergent conclusion is that in the quantum coherent transport regime, quantum interference destroys the QHI as a consequence of localization. Once the localization length becomes much shorter than the dephasing length, the Hall resistivity diverges. We conclude by mentioning some recent experimental observations and open questions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)923-943
Number of pages21
JournalModern Physics Letters B
Issue number18
StatePublished - 10 Aug 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Dephasing
  • Localization
  • Quantized Hall insulator
  • Quantum Hall transitions


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