Electronic Liquid Crystals

Friday, October 29, 2004 - 9:30am - 10:20am
EE/CS 3-180
Alan Dorsey (University of Florida)
There is growing experimental evidence that electrons confined to two dimensions (in a semiconductor heterostructure, for instance) at low temperatures and high magnetic fields can display a plethora of partially ordered phases which have the same symmetries as classical liquid crystal phases, such as nematics and smectics. I will review the experimental evidence for these novel quantum phases of matter, and discuss their phenomenology, with an emphasis on the key role of topological defects (dislocations) partially restoring broken symmetries.