Quantum corral resonance widths: Lossy scattering as acoustics

Matthew C. Barr, Michael P. Zaletel, Eric J. Heller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


We present an approach to predicting extrinsic electron resonance widths within quantum corral nanostructures based on analogies with acoustics. Established quantum mechanical methods for calculating resonance widths, such as multiple scattering theory, build up the scattering atom by atom, ignoring the structure formed by the atoms, such as walls or enclosures. Conversely, particle-in-a-box models, assuming continuous walls, have long been successful in predicting quantum corral energy levels, but not resonance widths. In acoustics, partial reflection from walls and various enclosures has long been incorporated for determining reverberation times. Pursuing an exact analogy between the local density of states of a quantum corral and the acoustic impedance of a concert hall, we show electron lifetimes in nanoscopic structures of arbitrary convex shape are well accounted for by the Sabine formula for acoustic reverberation times. This provides a particularly compact and intuitive prescription for extrinsic finite lifetimes in a particle-in-a-box with leaky walls, including quantum corral atomic walls, given single particle scattering properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3253-3260
Number of pages8
JournalNano Letters
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 8 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Bioengineering
  • General Materials Science


  • Quantum corral
  • Sabine
  • chaos
  • multiple scattering
  • resonance
  • surface states


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