Field theory of nematicity in the spontaneous quantum anomalous Hall effect

Yizhi You, Eduardo Fradkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We derive from a microscopic model the effective theory of nematic order in a system with a spontaneous quantum anomalous Hall effect in two dimensions. Starting with a model of two-component fermions (a spinor field) with a quadratic band crossing and short-range four-fermion marginally relevant interactions we use 1/N expansion and bosonization methods to derive the effective field theory for the hydrodynamic modes associated with the conserved currents and with the local fluctuations of the nematic order parameter. We focus on the vicinity of the quantum phase transition from the isotropic Mott Chern insulating phase to a phase in which time-reversal symmetry breaking coexists with nematic order, the nematic Chern insulator. The topological sector of the effective field theory is a background field (BF)/Chern-Simons gauge theory. We show that the nematic order parameter field couples with the Maxwell-type terms of the gauge fields as the space components of a locally fluctuating metric tensor. The nematic field has z=2 dynamic scaling exponent. The low-energy dynamics of the nematic order parameter is found to be governed by a Berry phase term. By means of a detailed analysis of the coupling of the spinor field of the fermions to the changes of their local frames originating from long-wavelength lattice deformations, we calculate the Hall viscosity of this system and show that in this system it is not the same as the Berry phase term in the effective action of the nematic field, but both are related to the concept of torque Hall viscosity, which we introduce here.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number235124
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 23 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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