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Linear magnetoresistance due to multi-electron scattering by low-mobility islands in an inhomogeneous conductor

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Article number1097
Journal publication date2/10/2012
JournalNature Communications
Volume3
Number of pages5
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Linear transverse magnetoresistance is commonly observed in many material systems including semimetals, narrow band-gap semiconductors, multi-layer graphene and topological insulators. It can originate in an inhomogeneous conductor from distortions in the current paths induced by macroscopic spatial fluctuations in the carrier mobility and it has been explained using a phenomenological semiclassical random resistor network model. However, the link between the linear magnetoresistance and the microscopic nature of the electron dynamics remains unknown. Here we demonstrate how the linear magnetoresistance arises from the stochastic behaviour of the electronic cycloidal trajectories around low-mobility islands in high-mobility inhomogeneous conductors and that this process is only weakly affected by the applied electric field strength. Also, we establish a quantitative link between the island morphology and the strength of linear magnetoresistance of relevance for future applications.