SU(3) Quantum Hall Ferromagnetism in SnTe




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American Physical Society


The (111) surface of SnTe hosts one isotropic Γ-centered and three degenerate anisotropic M-centered Dirac surface states. We predict that a nematic phase with spontaneously broken C₃ symmetry will occur in the presence of a perpendicular magnetic field when the N=0 M Landau levels are 1/3 or 2/3 filled. The nematic state phase boundary is controlled by a competition between intravalley Coulomb interactions that favor a valley-polarized state and weaker intervalley scattering processes that increase in relative strength with magnetic field. An in-plane Zeeman field alters the phase diagram by lifting the threefold M Landau-level degeneracy, yielding a ground state energy with 2π/3 periodicity as a function of Zeeman-field orientation angle.



Symmetry (Physics), Dirac equation, Tellurides, Coulomb functions, Zeeman effect

X. L. was supported by the U.S. DOE (Grant No. DE-FG03-02ER45958, Division of Materials Science and Engineering) and the Welch Foundation (Grant No. F-1255) in Austin, Texas, and is currently supported by JQI-NSF-PFC and LPS-MPO-CMTC in Maryland. F. Z. is supported by the University of Texas at Dallas research enhancement funds. F. Z. also thanks the Aspen Center for Physics (NSF Grant No. 1066293 and the Trustees Fund) for its hospitality during the finalization of this work. A. H. M. is supported by U.S. DOE Division of Materials Sciences and Engineering Grant No. DE-FG02-02ER45958, and by Welch Foundation Grant No. TBF1473.


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