Off-resonance magnetoresistance spike in irradiated ultraclean 2D electron systems
© Iñarrea; licensee Springer. 2013
Received: 11 November 2012
Accepted: 6 April 2013
Published: 16 May 2013
We report on the theoretical studies of a recently discovered strong radiation-induced magnetoresistance spike obtained in ultraclean two-dimensional electron systems at low temperatures. The most striking feature of this spike is that it shows up on the second harmonic of the cyclotron resonance. We apply the radiation-driven electron orbits model in the ultraclean scenario. Accordingly, we calculate the new average advanced distance by the electron in a scattering event which will define the unexpected resonance spike position. Calculated results are in good agreement with experiments.
Transport excited by radiation in a two-dimensional electron system (2DES) has been always [1–3] a central topic in basic and especially in applied research. In the last decade, it was discovered that when a high mobility 2DES in a low and perpendicular magnetic field (B) is irradiated, mainly with microwaves (MW), some striking effects are revealed: radiation-induced magnetoresistance (R x x ) oscillations and zero resistance states (ZRS) [4, 5]. Different theories and experiments have been proposed to explain these effects [6–18], but the physical origin is still being questioned. An interesting and challenging experimental results, recently obtained  and as intriguing as ZRS, consists in a strong resistance spike which shows up far off-resonance. It occurs at twice the cyclotron frequency, w≈2wc, where w is the radiation frequency, and wc is the cyclotron frequency.
Remarkably, the only different feature in these experiments  is the use of ultraclean samples with mobility μ ∼ 3 × 107 cm2 V s-1 and lower temperatures T∼0.4 K. Yet, for the previous ‘standard’ experiments and samples [4, 5], mobility is lower (μ < 107 cm2 V s-1) and T higher (T ≥ 1.0 K).
In this letter, we theoretically study this radiation-induced R xx spike, applying the theory developed by the authors, the radiation-driven electron orbits model[6–10, 20–25]. According to the theory, when a Hall bar is illuminated, the electron orbit centers perform a classical trajectory consisting in a classical forced harmonic motion along the direction of the current at the radiation frequency, w. This motion is damped by the interaction of electrons with the lattice ions and with the consequent emission of acoustic phonons.
We extend this model to an ultraclean sample, where the Landau levels (LL), which in principle are broadened by scattering, become very narrow. This implies an increasing number of states at the center of the LL sharing a similar energy. In between LL, the opposite happens: the density of states dramatically decreases. This will eventually affect the measured stationary current and R x x .
We obtain that in the ultraclean scenario, the measured current on average is the same as the one obtained in a sample with full contribution to R x x but delayed as if it were irradiated with a half MW frequency (w/2). Accordingly, the cyclotron resonance is apparently shifted to a new B-position around w ≈ 2wc.
where E0 is the MW electric field, and γ is a damping factor for the electronic interaction with the lattice ions.Then, the obtained wave function is the same as the standard harmonic oscillator, where the center is displaced by x cl (t). Next, we apply time-dependent first-order perturbation theory to calculate the elastic charged impurity scattering rate between the two oscillating Landau states, the initial Ψ n , and the final state Ψ m [6–10, 20–24]: Wn,m = 1 / τ, with τ being the elastic charged impurity scattering time.
with E being the energy , and the average electron drift velocity. To obtain R xx , we use the usual tensor relationships .
Results and discussion
In the four panels of energy versus distance, the grey stripes are LL tilted by the action of the DC electric field in the x direction. Here, LL are narrow () and hardly overlap each other, leaving regions with a low density of states in between (white stripes). Therefore, we can observe regularly alternating grey (many states) and white (few states) stripes equally spread out. The first scenario corresponds (see Figure 1b) to an electron being scattered to the central part of a LL. As a result, the scattering can be completed with empty states to be occupied; we obtain full contribution to the conductivity and R x x . In Figure 1c, we describe the second scenario where the electron scatters to a region in between LL with a very low density of states. Obviously, in this case, there is no much contribution to the average or stationary current. In Figure 1d, the scattering is not efficient because the final Landau state is occupied. Both regimes, ‘in-between LL’ and ‘center of LL’, are distributed equally and alternately along one cycle of the MW-driven electron orbit motion; then, only in one-half of the cycle, we would obtain a net contribution to the current or R x x .
According to it, now the resonance in R x x will take place at w ≈ 2wc, as experimentally obtained . The intensity of the R xx spike will depend on the relative value of the frequency term, (), and the damping parameter γ in the denominator of the latter R xx expression. When γ leads the denominator, the spike is smeared out. Yet, in situations where γ is smaller than the frequency term, the resonance effect will be more visible, and the spike will show up.
where wac is the frequency of the acoustic phonons for the experimental parameters .For ultraclean samples γ is small , and according to the last expression, this makes also the term inside the brackets and γ smaller [28–30]. In other words, it makes the damping by acoustic phonon emission and the release of the absorbed energy to the lattice increasingly difficult. Therefore, we have a bottleneck effect for the emission of acoustic phonons. Now, it is possible to reach a situation where , making a resonance effect visible and, therefore, giving rise to a strong resonance peak at w ≈ 2wc.
Finally, we obtain the usual radiation-induced R x x oscillations and ZRS as in standard samples.
In this letter, we have presented a theoretical approach to the striking result of the magnetoresistance spike in the second harmonic of the cyclotron frequency. According to our model, the strong change in the density of Landau states in ultraclean samples affects dramatically the electron impurity scattering and eventually the conductivity. The final result is that the scattered electrons perceive radiation as of half frequency. The calculated results are in good agreement with experiments.
JI is an associate professor at the University Carlos III of Madrid. He is currently studying the effect of radiation on two-dimensional electron systems.
This work is supported by the MCYT (Spain) under grant MAT2011-24331 and ITN grant 234970 (EU).
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