Surface acoustic-wave attenuation by a two-dimensional electron gas in a strong magnetic field

Andreas Knäbchen, Yehoshua B. Levinson, Ora Entin-Wohlman

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30 Scopus citations


The propagation of a surface acoustic wave (SAW) on GaAs/(Formula presented)(Formula presented)As heterostructures is studied in the case where a two-dimensional electron gas (2DEG) is subject to a strong magnetic field and a smooth random potential with correlation length Λ and amplitude Δ. The electron wave functions are described in a quasiclassical picture using results of percolation theory for two-dimensional systems. In accordance with the experimental situation, Λ is assumed to be much smaller than the sound wavelength 2π/q. This restricts the absorption of surface phonons at a filling factor ν¯≊1/2 to electrons occupying extended trajectories of fractal structure. Both piezoelectric and deformation potential interactions of surface acoustic phonons with electrons are considered and the corresponding interaction vertices are derived. These vertices are found to differ from those valid for three-dimensional bulk phonon systems with respect to the phonon wave-vector dependence. We derive the appropriate dielectric function ɛ(ω, q) to describe the effect of screening on the electron-phonon coupling. In the low-temperature, high-frequency regime T≪Δ((Formula presented)Λ/(Formula presented)(Formula presented), where (Formula presented) is the SAW frequency and (Formula presented) is the electron drift velocity, both the attenuation coefficient Γ and ɛ(ω, q) are independent of temperature. The classical percolation indices give α/2ν=3/7. The width of the region where a strong absorption of the SAW occurs is found to be given by the scaling law |Δν¯|≊((Formula presented)Λ/(Formula presented)(Formula presented). The dependence of the electron-phonon coupling and the screening due to the 2DEG on the filling factor leads to a double-peak structure for Γ(ν¯).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10696-10708
Number of pages13
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number15
StatePublished - 1996


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