Conductivity of electronic liquid-crystalline mesophases

Rafael M. Fernandes, Jörg Schmalian, Harry Westfahl

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We investigate the connection between the transport properties and the thermodynamics of electronic systems with a tendency to form broken-symmetry mesophases evocative of the physics of liquid crystals. Through a hydrodynamic approach to the electronic transport in inhomogeneous systems, we develop a perturbative expansion for the macroscopic conductivity to study the transport of two-dimensional smectic and nematic phases. At the fluctuation-induced first-order phase transition expected for the smectic to isotropic transition, a jump in the macroscopic conductivity is predicted, with a directional dependence that reflects the fluctuation spectrum of the order parameter. When elastic fluctuation modes melt the smectic phase into a nematic phase, the resultant nematic order parameter is shown to be linearly proportional to the conductivity anisotropy. We also outline qualitative comparisons with recent experimental works on strongly correlated materials that show evidences of electronic liquid-crystalline mesophases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number184201
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number18
StatePublished - Nov 10 2008
Externally publishedYes


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