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Imaging Coherent Electron Flow from a Quantum Point Contact

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Science  29 Sep 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5488, pp. 2323-2326
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5488.2323

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Abstract

Scanning a charged tip above the two-dimensional electron gas inside a gallium arsenide/aluminum gallium arsenide nanostructure allows the coherent electron flow from the lowest quantized modes of a quantum point contact at liquid helium temperatures to be imaged. As the width of the quantum point contact is increased, its electrical conductance increases in quantized steps of 2e 2/h, where e is the electron charge and h is Planck's constant. The angular dependence of the electron flow on each step agrees with theory, and fringes separated by half the electron wavelength are observed. Placing the tip so that it interrupts the flow from particular modes of the quantum point contact causes a reduction in the conductance of those particular conduction channels below 2e 2/h without affecting other channels.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: westervelt{at}deas.harvard.edu

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