Observation of magnetic breakdown in double quantum wells

N. E. Harff, J. A. Simmons, J. F. Klem, G. S. Boebinger, L. N. Pfeiffer, K. W. West

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We report on our studies of magnetic breakdown (MB) in coupled GaAs/Al0.3 Ga0.7As double quantum wells (DQWs) subject to crossed magnetic fields. MB is a failure of semiclassical theory that occurs when a magnetic field causes electrons to tunnel across a gap in k-space from one Fermi surface (FS) branch to another. We study MB in a two-branch FS created by subjecting a DQW to an in-plane magnetic field (B). The principal effect of B is a distortion in the dispersion curve of the system, yielding a FS consisting of two components, a lens-shaped inner orbit and an hour-glass-shaped outer orbit. The perpendicular field (B) causes Landau level formation and Shubnikov-de Haas (SdH) oscillations for each branch of the FS. At higher perpendicular fields MB occurs and electrons tunnel through k-space from one FS orbit to the other. MB is observed by noting which peaks are present in the Fourier power spectrum of the magnetoresistance versus 1/B at constant B. We observe MB in two DQW samples over a range of B.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)595-600
Number of pages6
JournalSuperlattices and Microstructures
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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