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Ssh Aw

Ssh Aw

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Published by: muzammalsafdar on Nov 30, 2010
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Propagation in Smooth Random Potentials
A thesis presentedbyScot Elmer James ShawtoThe Department of Physicsin partial fulfillment of the requirementsfor the degree of Doctor of Philosophyin the subject of PhysicsHarvard UniversityCambridge, MassachusettsMay 2002
2002 - Scot Elmer James ShawAll rights reserved.
Thesis advisor Author
Eric J. Heller Scot Elmer James Shaw
Propagation in Smooth Random Potentials
The theoretical study of micron-scale quantum-mechanical systems generally be-gins with two assumptions about the potential: that there is no background potential,and that any confining potential is hard-walled. In this thesis, we will look at a phe-nomenon that is seen when these assumptions are not made, in the context of electronconductance through two-dimensional electron gasses (2DEGs).We begin by setting out two different mathematical frameworks for studying sys-tems with smooth potentials. The discrete variable representation method treatsclosed systems, where one is solving for eigenstates and eigenvalues. The inverseGreen’s function method treats open systems, where one is solving for the scatteringmatrix and steady-state electron flux. It is the latter method that we will apply tothe case of 2DEG conductance.Our study is motivated by recent experiments which probed the spatial patternof electron flux. In agreement with these experiments, we find that electrons follownarrow branches rather than a diffusive spreading pattern. We conclude that thebranches are the result of small-angle scattering off of a weak, smooth disorderedbackground potential, generated by the layer of donor atoms in the 2DEG crystal.We then consider the experimentally observed interference fringes, which persist to

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