At small momenta, the Girvin-MacDonald-Platzman (GMP) mode in the fractional quantum Hall (FQH) effect can be identified with gapped nematic fluctuations in the isotropic FQH liquid. This correspondence would be exact as the GMP mode softens upon approach to the putative point of a quantum phase transition to a FQH nematic. Motivated by these considerations as well as by suggestive evidence of an FQH nematic in tilted field experiments, we have sought evidence of such a nematic FQHE in a microscopic model of interacting electrons in the lowest Landau level at filling factor 1/3. Using a family of anisotropic Laughlin states as trial wave functions, we find a continuous quantum phase transition between the isotropic Laughlin liquid and the FQH nematic. Results of numerical exact diagonalization also suggest that rotational symmetry is spontaneously broken, and that the phase diagram of the model contains both a nematic and a stripe phase.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics