Nonlinear transport of the Wigner crystal in symmetric and asymmetric FET-like structures
Nonlinear transport of the Wigner crystal on superfluid 4He in quasi-one-dimensional channels with symmetric and asymmetric constrictions
Departement Fysica, Universiteit Antwerpen, Groenenborgerlaan 171, 2020 Antwerpen, Belgium
Received: 17 March 2015
Published online: 20 April 2015
When floating on a two-dimensional surface of superfluid 4He, electrons arrange themselves in two-dimensional crystalline structure known as Wigner crystal. In channels, the boundaries interfere the crystalline order and in case of very narrow channels one observes a quasi-one-dimensional (quasi-1D) Wigner crystal formed by just a few rows of electrons and, ultimately, one row in the “quantum wire” regime. Recently, the “quantum wire” regime was accessed experimentally [D.G. Rees, H. Totsuji, K. Kono, Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 176801 (2012)] resulting in unusual transport phenomena such as, e.g., oscillations in the electron conductance. Using molecular dynamics simulations, we study the nonlinear transport of electrons in channels with various types of constrictions: single and multiple symmetric and asymmetric geometrical constrictions with varying width and length, and saddle-point-type potentials with varying gate voltage. In particular, we analyze the average particle velocity of the particles and the corresponding electron current versus the driving force or the gate voltage. We have revealed a significant difference in the dynamics for long and short constrictions: The oscillations of the average velocity of the particles for the systems with short constrictions exhibit a clear correlation with the transitions between the states with different numbers of rows of particles; on the other hand, for the systems with longer constrictions these oscillations are suppressed. The obtained results qualitatively agree with the experimental observations. Next, we propose a FET-like structure that consists of a channel with asymmetric constrictions. We show that applying a transverse bias results either in increase of the average particle velocity or in its suppression thus allowing a flexible control tool over the electron transport. The advantage of the asymmetric FET is that it does not have a gate and it allows an easy control of relatively large electron flow. Furthermore, the asymmetric device can be used for rectification of an ac-driven electron flow. Our results bring important insights into the dynamics of electrons floating on the surface of superfluid 4He in channels with constrictions and allow the effective control over the electron transport.
Key words: Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag, 2015