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Semiclassical transport in nearly symmetric quantum dots. I. Symmetry breaking in the dot

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>11/2009
<mark>Journal</mark>Physical Review E
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)056209
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


We apply the semiclassical theory of transport to quantum dots with exact and approximate spatial symmetries; left-right mirror symmetry, up-down mirror symmetry, inversion symmetry, or fourfold symmetry. In this work—the first of a pair of articles—we consider (a) perfectly symmetric dots and (b) nearly symmetric dots in which the symmetry is broken by the dot's internal dynamics. The second article addresses symmetry-breaking by displacement of the leads. Using semiclassics, we identify the origin of the symmetry-induced interference effects that contribute to weak localization corrections and universal conductance fluctuations. For perfect spatial symmetry, we recover results previously found using the random-matrix theory conjecture. We then go on to show how the results are affected by asymmetries in the dot, magnetic fields, and decoherence. In particular, the symmetry-asymmetry crossover is found to be described by a universal dependence on an asymmetry parameter gamma_asym. However, the form of this parameter is very different depending on how the dot is deformed away from spatial symmetry. Symmetry-induced interference effects are completely destroyed when the dot's boundary is globally deformed by less than an electron wavelength. In contrast, these effects are only reduced by a finite amount when a part of the dot's boundary smaller than a lead-width is deformed an arbitrarily large distance.