Research ArticleCONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS

A cascade of phase transitions in an orbitally mixed half-filled Landau level

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Science Advances  14 Sep 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 9, eaat8742
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat8742

Abstract

Half-filled Landau levels host an emergent Fermi liquid that displays instability toward pairing, culminating in a gapped even-denominator fractional quantum Hall ground state. While this pairing may be probed by tuning the polarization of carriers in competing orbital and spin degrees of freedom, sufficiently high quality platforms offering such tunability remain few. We explore the ground states at filling factor ν = 5/2 in ZnO-based two-dimensional electron systems through a forced intersection of opposing spin branches of Landau levels taking quantum numbers N = 1 and 0. We reveal a cascade of phases with distinct magnetotransport features including a gapped phase polarized in the N = 1 level and a compressible phase in N = 0, along with an unexpected Fermi liquid, a second gapped, and a strongly anisotropic nematic-like phase at intermediate polarizations when the levels are near degeneracy. The phase diagram is produced by analyzing the proximity of the intersecting levels and highlights the excellent reproducibility and controllability that ZnO offers for exploring exotic fractionalized electronic phases.

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