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Evidence of Soft-Mode Quantum Phase Transitions in Electron Double Layers

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Science  07 Aug 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5378, pp. 799-802
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5378.799

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Abstract

Inelastic light scattering by low-energy spin-excitations reveals three distinct configurations of spin of electron double layers in gallium arsenide quantum wells at even-integer quantum Hall states. The transformations among these spin states appear as quantum phase transitions driven by the interplay between Coulomb interactions and Zeeman splittings. One of the transformations correlates with the emergence of a spin-flip intersubband excitation at vanishingly low energy and provides direct evidence of a link between quantum phase transitions and soft collective excitations in a two-dimensional electron system.

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