Four-terminal resistance of a ballistic quantum wire

R. De Picciotto, H. L. Stormer, L. N. Pfeiffer, K. W. Baldwin, K. W. West

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

153 Scopus citations


The electrical resistance of a conductor is intimately related to the relaxation of the momentum of charge carriers. In a simple model, the accelerating force exerted on electrons by an applied electric field is balanced by a frictional force arising from their frequent collisions with obstacles such as impurities, grain boundaries or other deviations from a perfect crystalline order. Thus, in the absence of any scattering, the electrical resistance should vanish altogether. Here, we observe such vanishing four-terminal resistance in a single-mode ballistic quantum wire. This result contrasts the value of the standard two-probe resistance measurements of h/2e2 ≈ 13 kΩ. The measurements are conducted in the highly controlled geometry afforded by epitaxial growth onto the cleaved edge of a high-quality GaAs/AlGaAs heterostructure. Two weakly invasive voltage probes are attached to the central section of a ballistic quantum wire to measure the inherent resistance of this clean one-dimensional conductor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-54
Number of pages4
Issue number6833
StatePublished - May 3 2001
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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