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Phys Rev Lett. 2016 Jan 15;116(2):026803. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.026803. Epub 2016 Jan 15.

SU(3) Quantum Hall Ferromagnetism in SnTe.

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Condensed Matter Theory Center and Joint Quantum Institute, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA.
Department of Physics, The University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, Texas 75080, USA.
Department of Physics, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712, USA.


The (111) surface of SnTe hosts one isotropic Γ[over ¯]-centered and three degenerate anisotropic M[over ¯]-centered Dirac surface states. We predict that a nematic phase with spontaneously broken C_{3} symmetry will occur in the presence of a perpendicular magnetic field when the N=0 M[over ¯] 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[over ¯] Landau-level degeneracy, yielding a ground state energy with 2π/3 periodicity as a function of Zeeman-field orientation angle.

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