Our magnetotransport measurements of quantum Hall stripes in a high-quality GaAs quantum well in a slightly tilted magnetic field reveal that the orientation of stripes can be changed by temperature. Field-cooling and field-warming measurements, as well as observation of hysteresis at intermediate temperatures allow us to conclude that the observed temperature-induced reorientation of stripes is owing to the existence of two distinct minima in the symmetry-breaking potential. We also find that the native symmetry-breaking mechanism does not depend on temperature and that low-temperature magnetotransport data should be treated with caution as they do not necessarily reveal the true ground state, even in the absence of hysteresis.
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We thank J. Geurs for assistance with the experimental setup and I. Dmitriev for commenting on the manuscript. The work at Minnesota (Purdue) was supported by the US Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences, under Award No. ER 46640-SC0002567 (Grant No. DE-SC0006671). Q.S. acknowledges support from a University of Minnesota Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship.