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Hall Effect vs. Quantum Hall Effect — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on November 16, 2023
The Hall Effect observes a voltage (Hall voltage) across an electrical conductor in a magnetic field, while the Quantum Hall Effect is a quantum-mechanical version observed at low temperatures & high magnetic fields, revealing quantized Hall resistances.
Hall Effect vs. Quantum Hall Effect — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Hall Effect and Quantum Hall Effect


Key Differences

The Hall Effect is a phenomenon that was discovered in the late 19th century. When an electric current passes through a conductor in a magnetic field, a voltage difference, known as the Hall voltage, is observed perpendicular to both the current and the magnetic field. The Quantum Hall Effect, on the other hand, is a more complex, quantum-mechanical version of this phenomenon.
While the Hall Effect is seen in many conductors and semiconductors under the influence of a magnetic field, the Quantum Hall Effect only manifests under specific conditions. To observe the Quantum Hall Effect, the system must be at extremely low temperatures and subjected to strong magnetic fields.
The Hall Effect provides a way to determine whether the charge carriers in a material are positive or negative, and it's commonly used in various sensors and devices. In contrast, the Quantum Hall Effect reveals quantized Hall resistances, which means the resistance changes in discrete steps or "quanta." This quantum behavior is fundamentally different from the classical behavior seen in the regular Hall Effect.
The discovery of the Quantum Hall Effect revolutionized our understanding of condensed matter physics. It has provided an exact method to define the standard of electrical resistance and offers deep insights into the behavior of electrons in two-dimensional systems. While the Hall Effect had been widely understood and applied in technology, the Quantum Hall Effect brought with it a deeper understanding of quantum mechanics in condensed matter systems.
Both the Hall Effect and the Quantum Hall Effect are crucial in the realm of physics. While the former is more common and finds numerous practical applications, the latter is an exquisite display of quantum mechanics and has been instrumental in various theoretical and experimental breakthroughs.

Comparison Chart

Nature of Phenomenon


Conditions of Observation

Conductors in magnetic field
Low temperatures & high magnetic fields

Outcome Observations

Hall voltage
Quantized Hall resistances


Sensors, electronic devices
Standard for electrical resistance, fundamental research

Conceptual Framework

Electromagnetic theory
Quantum mechanics in two-dimensional systems

Compare with Definitions

Hall Effect

An outcome of charge carriers moving in a magnetic field.
Due to the Hall Effect, a sideways force is exerted on moving charge carriers.

Quantum Hall Effect

A phenomenon revealing the intricate behavior of electrons in 2D systems.
The Quantum Hall Effect has provided physicists deeper insights into electron interactions.

Hall Effect

A phenomenon indicating the nature of charge carriers in a material.
Through the Hall Effect, researchers found that certain materials have positive charge carriers.

Quantum Hall Effect

A phenomenon that has led to precise standards for electrical resistance.
The resistances seen in the Quantum Hall Effect are used as a standard in metrology.

Hall Effect

A voltage difference observed across a conductor in a magnetic field.
The Hall Effect is used to detect magnetic fields in speed sensors.

Quantum Hall Effect

A quantum-mechanical version of the Hall Effect with quantized resistances.
The Quantum Hall Effect was first observed in two-dimensional electron systems at low temperatures.

Hall Effect

A principle used for developing magnetic field sensing devices.
Hall Effect sensors are used in various electronics for their precision.

Quantum Hall Effect

Observed under extreme conditions like very low temperatures and high magnetic fields.
The unique conditions for observing the Quantum Hall Effect make it a fascinating area of study.

Hall Effect

A classical effect in electromagnetism observed in many conductors.
The Hall Effect allows for the measurement of the magnitude of a magnetic field.

Quantum Hall Effect

A manifestation of topological states of matter in 2D electron systems.
The Quantum Hall Effect led to further exploration of topological insulators and superconductors.

Common Curiosities

Is the Quantum Hall Effect commonly seen in everyday materials?

No, it requires specific conditions like extreme cold and strong magnetic fields.

What triggers the Hall Effect in materials?

An external magnetic field causes the Hall Effect when charge carriers move in a conductor.

How has the Quantum Hall Effect impacted modern physics?

It has deepened our understanding of quantum mechanics in condensed matter.

Can the Hall Effect be observed without special equipment?

Special equipment enhances accuracy, but the basic effect can be seen in a lab setup.

Can the Hall Effect determine the type of charge carriers?

Yes, the Hall Effect reveals if carriers are positive (holes) or negative (electrons).

Are there practical applications of the Hall Effect?

Yes, it's used in magnetic field sensors and various electronic devices.

Are there variations of the Quantum Hall Effect?

Yes, such as the fractional Quantum Hall Effect which involves fractionally charged quasiparticles.

Is the Quantum Hall Effect related to the regular Hall Effect?

Yes, it's a quantum-mechanical version of the classical Hall Effect.

How was the Hall Effect discovered?

Edwin Hall discovered it in 1879 while researching magnetic fields.

Why is the Quantum Hall Effect considered "quantum"?

It's due to the discrete, quantized resistances observed, a result of quantum mechanics.

How is the Quantum Hall Effect used in research?

It's essential for studying electron behavior in 2D systems and for defining resistance standards.

Does the Hall Effect occur in all conductors?

While not all, many conductors and semiconductors exhibit the Hall Effect.

What materials are often used to study the Quantum Hall Effect?

Two-dimensional electron gas systems, often found in semiconductor heterostructures.

Why is the Quantum Hall Effect considered a topological effect?

It involves properties that remain unchanged under continuous deformations, a hallmark of topology.

Is the Quantum Hall Effect solely theoretical?

No, it has been experimentally observed and has practical implications in metrology.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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