What is the fate of the ground state of a two-dimensional electron system at very low Landau level filling factors (ν) where interaction reigns supreme? An ordered array of electrons, the so-called Wigner crystal, has long been believed to be the answer. It was in fact the search for the elusive Wigner crystal that led to the discovery of an unexpected, incompressible liquid state, namely the fractional quantum Hall state at ν=1/3. Understanding the competition between the liquid and solid ground states has since remained an active field of fundamental research. Here we report experimental data for a new two-dimensional system where the electrons are confined to an AlAs quantum well. The exceptionally high quality of the samples and the large electron effective mass allow us to determine the liquid-solid phase diagram for the two-dimensional electrons in a large range of filling factors near ≃1/3 and ≃1/5. The data and their comparison with an available theoretical phase diagram reveal the crucial role of Landau level mixing and finite electron layer thickness in determining the prevailing ground states.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Physics and Astronomy