Field theory of the quantum Hall nematic transition

J. Maciejko, B. Hsu, S. A. Kivelson, Yeje Park, Shivaji Lal Sondhi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


The topological physics of quantum Hall states is efficiently encoded in purely topological quantum field theories of the Chern-Simons type. The reliable inclusion of low-energy dynamical properties in a continuum description, however, typically requires proximity to a quantum critical point. We construct a field theory that describes the quantum transition from an isotropic to a nematic Laughlin liquid. The soft mode associated with this transition approached from the isotropic side is identified as the familiar intra-Landau level Girvin-MacDonald-Platzman mode. We obtain z=2 dynamic scaling at the critical point and a description of Goldstone and defect physics on the nematic side. Despite the very different physical motivation, our field theory is essentially identical to a recent "geometric" field theory for a Laughlin liquid proposed by Haldane.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number125137
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Sep 27 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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