Signatures of Correlated Defects in an Ultraclean Wigner Crystal in the Extreme Quantum Limit

P. T. Madathil, C. Wang, S. K. Singh, A. Gupta, K. A.Villegas Rosales, Y. J. Chung, K. W. West, K. W. Baldwin, L. N. Pfeiffer, L. W. Engel, M. Shayegan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Low-disorder two-dimensional electron systems in the presence of a strong, perpendicular magnetic field terminate at very small Landau level filling factors in a Wigner crystal (WC), where the electrons form an ordered array to minimize the Coulomb repulsion. The nature of this exotic, many-body, quantum phase is yet to be fully understood and experimentally revealed. Here we probe one of WC's most fundamental parameters, namely, the energy gap that determines its low-temperature conductivity, in record mobility, ultrahigh-purity, two-dimensional electrons confined to GaAs quantum wells. The WC domains in these samples contain ≃1000 electrons. The measured gaps are a factor of three larger than previously reported for lower quality samples, and agree remarkably well with values predicted for the lowest-energy, intrinsic, hypercorrelated bubble defects in a WC made of flux-electron composite fermions, rather than bare electrons. The agreement is particularly noteworthy, given that the calculations are done for disorder-free composite fermion WCs, and there are no adjustable parameters. The results reflect the exceptionally high quality of the samples, and suggest that composite fermion WCs are indeed more stable compared to their electron counterparts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number096502
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number9
StatePublished - Mar 1 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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