Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Physics & Astronomy

First Advisor

Yuli Lyanda-Geller

Committee Member 1

Erica Carlson

Committee Member 2

Leonid Rokhinson

Committee Member 3

Chris Greene


The $\nu=\frac{5}{2}$ fractional quantum Hall effect (FQHE) is a unique and interesting experimental and theoretical state. A great deal of experimental, theoretical and numerical work suggests that this state may support quasihole excitations with non-Abelian statistics, where the order of particle exchange influences the final state of the system. Thus, the $\nu=\frac{5}{2}$ FQHE offers a system in which the properties of the particles may be explored experimentally and theoretically. Additionally, by controlling the exchange of such particles, it is possible to create a topologically-protected quantum computer. In order to make this possible, however, we must first understand the nature of the ground state. The two leading candidates, the Moore-Read Pfaffian and the anti-Pfaffian, both support non-Abelian excitations, but there has not been a clear answer for which state is realized in experiment. In the present work, we present results of exact diagaonlization calculations which strive to answer this question using a disk geometry. What we find is that the ground state of the system is dependent upon device specific quantities and thus we may be able to engineer samples which will have specific ground state properties.