Exotic bilayer crystals in a strong magnetic field

W. N. Faugno, A. J. Duthie, D. J. Wales, J. K. Jain

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Electron bilayers in a strong magnetic field exhibit insulating behavior for a wide range of interlayer separation d for total Landau level fillings ν≤1/2, which has been interpreted in terms of a pinned crystal. We study theoretically the competition between many strongly correlated liquid and crystal states and obtain the phase diagram as a function of quantum well width and d for several filling factors of interest. We predict that three crystal structures can be realized: (i) At small d, the so-called triangular Ising antiferromagnetic (TIAF) crystal is stabilized, in which the particles overall form a single-layer-like triangular crystal while satisfying the condition that no nearest-neighbor triangle has all three particles in the same layer. (ii) At intermediate d, a correlated square (CS) crystal is stabilized, in which particles in each layer form a square lattice, with the particles in one layer located directly across the centers of the squares of the other. (iii) At large d, we find a bilayer graphene (BG) crystal in which the A and B sites of the graphene lattice lie in different layers. All crystals that we predict are strongly correlated crystals of composite fermions; a theory incorporating only electron Hartree-Fock crystals does not find any crystals besides the "trivial" ones occurring at large interlayer separations for total filling factor ν≤1/3 (when layers are uncorrelated and each layer is in the long familiar single-layer crystal phase). The TIAF, CS, and BG crystals come in several varieties, with different flavors of composite fermions and different interlayer correlations. The appearance of these exotic crystal phases adds to the richness of the physics of electron bilayers in a strong magnetic field, and also provides insight into experimentally observed bilayer insulators as well as transitions within the insulating part of the phase diagram.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number245424
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number24
StatePublished - Jun 26 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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