The quantum Hall nematics are fascinating two-dimensional (2-d) electronic liquid crystals existing in ultra-clean semiconductor heterostructures and exhibit a mysterious broken rotational symmetry in the 2-d plane. In a recent article in Physical Review B, Johannes Pollanen (IQIM Postdoctoral Scholar), working with Jim Eisenstein, undergraduate Sarah Brandsen, and collaborators explore the in-plane symmetry breaking field. The paper reports that the field can be experimentally controlled by engineering the device structure; thereby demonstrating a unique technique for controlling the orientation of these exotic quantum states. Read the full paper here
J. Pollanen, K.B. Cooper, S. Brandsen, J.P. Eisenstein, L.N. Pfeiffer, and K.W. West (2015) Heterostructure symmetry and the orientation of the quantum Hall nematic phases. Physical Review B, 92 (11). Art. No. 115410. ISSN 1098-0121.