Spatially inhomogeneous electron state deep in the extreme quantum limit of strontium titanate

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Abstract

When an electronic system is subjected to a sufficiently strong magnetic field that the cyclotron energy is much larger than the Fermi energy, the system enters the extreme quantum limit (EQL) and becomes susceptible to a number of instabilities. Bringing a three-dimensional electronic system deeply into the EQL can be difficult however, since it requires a small Fermi energy, large magnetic field, and low disorder. Here we present an experimental study of the EQL in lightly-doped single crystals of strontium titanate. Our experiments probe deeply into the regime where theory has long predicted an interaction-driven charge density wave or Wigner crystal state. A number of interesting features arise in the transport in this regime, including a striking re-entrant nonlinearity in the current-voltage characteristics. We discuss these features in the context of possible correlated electron states, and present an alternative picture based on magnetic-field induced puddling of electrons.

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Bhattacharya, A., Skinner, B., Khalsa, G., & Suslov, A. V. (2016). Spatially inhomogeneous electron state deep in the extreme quantum limit of strontium titanate. Nature Communications, 7. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms12974

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