Electron-phonon interactions in low dimensional structures
Transport properties of the two-dimensional electron gas (2DEG) in high magnetic fields are used to investigate scattering processes affecting the resistivity of GaAs-GaAlAs and GaInAs-InP heterojunctions and quantum wells: especially coupling of electrons to acoustic and optic phonons; and transitions between electric subbands. The experiments fall into two groups: A systematic study of magnetophonon resonance (MPR) between 30K and 300K. Resonance positions indicate a coupling substantially below the LO phonon energy, expected from 3D measurements. GaAs-GaAlAs hetero junctions show amplitudes varying smoothly with electron density (ns) and closely related to the 4K mobility. On rotation in magnetic field they decrease rapidly as the resonance position returns to the LO value. In modulation doped structures the damping factor is determined by remote impurity scattering. As ns is increased in GaInAs-InP the coupling frequency decreases dramatically from the GaAs-like LO at 272cm-1 to the InAs-like TO at 226cm-1. At higher electric fields the 'normal' MPR maxima invert, starting at low magnetic fields, to form 'hot electron' MPR minima, with maximum amplitude at ~60K. This is the first direct observation of HEMPR in 2D and is explained in a diffusion picture. At lower electric fields, additional resonances are identified with resonant cooling by inter-subband scattering. Comparisons are made with calculations and explanations sought including consideration of interface phonons; coupled plasmon-phonon modes; and shifts of the resonance positions due to the shape of the density of states. Low temperature magnetoresistance measurements in GaAs-GaAlAs heterojunctions with more than one occupied electric subband. Shubnikov-de Haas oscillations in perpendicular magnetic fields contain non-additive terms at electron temperatures > 2K where acoustic phonon mediated inter-subband scattering is comparable to intra-subband scattering. Subband separations and greatly enhanced g-factors [largest for electrons in the upper subband ] are deduced from the oscillations. Damping of the oscillations in field, gives values for quantum lifetimes (τs), much smaller than τtʼ, deduced from mobility. With two subbands occupied τs is always largest for the upper subband, while relative sizes of τt depend on sample quality. Study of electron energy loss rates, from thermal damping of the oscillations, shows enhancement in the region kTe ~ ħωcʼ, which is evidence for cyclotron phonon emission. Depopulating subbands in parallel fields causes the resistance to drop, by up to 60%, due to suppression of inter-subband scattering. Systematic studies show this scattering rate is independent of ns.