Modular invariance, self-duality and the phase transition between quantum Hall plateaus

Eduardo Fradkin, Steven Kivelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigate the problem of the superuniversality of the phase transition between different quantum Hall plateaus. We construct a set of models which give a qualitative description of this transition in a pure system of interacting charged particles. One of the models is manifestly invariant under both duality and periodic shifts of the statistical angle and, hence, it has a full modular invariance. We derive the transformation laws for the correlation functions under the modular group and use them to derive symmetry constraints for the conductances. These allow us to calculate exactly the conductivities at the modular fixed points. We show that, at least at the modular fixed points, the system is critical. Away from the fixed points, the behavior of the model is determined by extra symmetries such as time reversal. We speculate that if the natural connection between spin and statistics holds, the model may exhibit an effective analyticity at low energies. In this case, the conductance is completely determined by its behavior under modular transformations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)543-574
Number of pages32
JournalNuclear Physics B
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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