Research ArticlePHYSICS

Observation of new plasmons in the fractional quantum Hall effect: Interplay of topological and nematic orders

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Science Advances  22 Mar 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 3, eaav3407
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav3407

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Abstract

Collective modes of exotic quantum fluids reveal underlying physical mechanisms responsible for emergent quantum states. We observe unexpected new collective modes in the fractional quantum Hall (FQH) regime: intra–Landau-level plasmons measured by resonant inelastic light scattering. The plasmons herald rotational-symmetry-breaking (nematic) phases in the second Landau level and uncover the nature of long-range translational invariance in these phases. The intricate dependence of plasmon features on filling factor provides insights on interplays between topological quantum Hall order and nematic electronic liquid crystal phases. A marked intensity minimum in the plasmon spectrum at Landau level filling factor v = 5/2 strongly suggests that this paired state, which may support non-Abelian excitations, overwhelms competing nematic phases, unveiling the robustness of the 5/2 superfluid state for small tilt angles. At v = 7/3, a sharp and strong plasmon peak that links to emerging macroscopic coherence supports the proposed model of a FQH nematic state.

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