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Mechanism of the Resonant Enhancement of Electron Drift in Nanometre Semiconductor Superlattices Subjected to Electric and Inclined Magnetic Fields

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Article number235203
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>15/12/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>Physical Review B: Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number23
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish


We address the increase of electron drift velocity that arises in semiconductor superlattices (SLs) subjected to constant electric and magnetic fields. It occurs if the magnetic field possesses nonzero components both along and perpendicular to the SL axis and the Bloch oscillations along the SL axis become resonant with cyclotron rotation in the transverse plane. It is a phenomenon of considerable interest, so that it is important to understand the underlying mechanism. In an earlier Letter (Phys. Rev. Lett. 114, 166802 (2015)) we showed that, contrary to a general belief that drift enhancement occurs through chaotic diffusion along a stochastic web (SW) within semiclassical collisionless dynamics, the phenomenon actually arises through a non-chaotic mechanism. In fact, any chaos that occurs tends to reduce the drift. We now provide fuller details, elucidating the mechanism in physical terms, and extending the investigation. In particular, we: (i) demonstrate that pronounced drift enhancement can still occur even in the complete absence of an SW; (ii) show that, where an SW does exist and its characteristic slow dynamics comes into play, it suppresses the drift enhancement even before strong chaos is manifested; (iii) generalize our theory for non-small temperature, showing that heating does not affect the enhancement mechanism and accounting for some earlier numerical observations; (iv) demonstrate that certain analytic results reported previously are incorrect; (v) provide an extended critical review of the subject and closely related issues; and (vi) discuss some challenging problems for the future.

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