Novel liquid crystalline phases in quantum hall systems

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Since 1999, experiments have shown a plethora of surprising results in the low-temperature magnetotransport in intermediate regions between quantum Hall (QH) plateaus: the extreme anisotropies observed for half-filling, or the re-entrant integer QH effects at quarter filling of high Landau levels (LL); or even an apparent melting of a Wigner Crystal (WC) at filling factor ν = 1/7 of the lowest LL. A large body of seemingly distinct experimental evidence has been successfully interpreted in terms of liquid crystalline phases in the two-dimensional electron system (2DES). In this paper, we present a review of the physics of liquid crystalline states for strongly correlated two-dimensional electronic systems in the QH regime. We describe a, semi-quantitative theory for the formation of QH smectics (stripes), their zero-temperature melting onto nematic phases and ultimate anisotropic-isotropic transition via the Kosterlitz-Thouless (KT) mechanism. We also describe theories for QH-like states with various liquid crystalline orders and their excitation spectrum. We argue that resulting picture of liquid crystalline states in partially filled LL-s is a, valuable starting point to understand the present experimental findings, and to suggest new experiments that will lead to further elucidation of this intriguing system. © World Scientific Publishing Company.

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