Conductance Quantization at a Half-Integer Plateau in a Symmetric GaAs Quantum Wire

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Science  02 Jun 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5778, pp. 1359-1362
DOI: 10.1126/science.1126445

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We present data from an induced gallium arsenide (GaAs) quantum wire that exhibits an additional conductance plateau at 0.5(2e2/h), where e is the charge of an electron and h is Planck's constant, in zero magnetic field. The plateau was most pronounced when the potential landscape was tuned to be symmetric by using low-temperature scanning-probe techniques. Source-drain energy spectroscopy and temperature response support the hypothesis that the origin of the plateau is the spontaneous spin-polarization of the transport electrons: a ferromagnetic phase. Such devices may have applications in the field of spintronics to either generate or detect a spin-polarized current without the complications associated with external magnetic fields or magnetic materials.

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