Linking insulator-to-metal transitions at zero and finite magnetic fields

Y. Hanein, N. Nenadovic, D. Shahar, Hadas Shtrikman, J. Yoon, C. C. Li, D. C. Tsui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


For many years, it was two dimensions would adopt an insulating ground state at zero temperature and in zero magnetic field. Application of a strong perpendicular magnetic field changes this picture, resulting in a transition from the insulating phase to a metallic quantum Hall state. Unexpectedly, an insulator-to-metal transition was recently observed in high-quality two- dimensional systems at zero magnetic field on changing the charge carrier density. The mechanism underlying this transition remains unknown. Here we investigate the magnetic-field-driven transition in a two-dimensional gallium arsenide system, which also exhibits the poorly understood zero-field transition. We find that, on increasing the carrier density, the critical magnetic field needed to produce an insulator-to-metal transition decreases continuously and becomes zero at the carrier density appropriate to the zero- field transition. Our results suggest that both the finite- and zero-magnetic field transitions share a common physical origin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)735-737
Number of pages3
Issue number6746
StatePublished - 19 Aug 1999
Externally publishedYes


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