Imaging coherent electron flow in a two-dimensional electron gas

R. M. Westervelt, M. A. Topinka, B. J. LeRoy, A. C. Bleszynski, S. E.J. Shaw, E. J. Heller, K. D. Maranowski, A. C. Gossard

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Images of coherent electron flow through a two-dimensional electron gas in a GaAs/AlGaAs heterostructure from a quantum point contact (QPC) were obtained at liquid He temperatures by using a scanning probe microscope with a charged tip that backscatters electrons. Near the QPC, at distances less than 500 nm, the images show angular lobes of electron flow in patterns determined by the quantum modes of the QPC. At greater distances, narrow branches of electron flow are observed, formed by the cumulative effects of small-angle scattering. In addition, the images show fringes spaced by half the Fermi wavelength, evidence that the electron flow is coherent. These observations agree well with theoretical simulations of electron flow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-140
Number of pages3
JournalPhysica E: Low-Dimensional Systems and Nanostructures
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - May 2003
Event23rd International Conference on Low Temperature Physics - Hiroshima, Japan
Duration: Aug 20 2002Aug 27 2002


  • Image electron flow
  • Scanning probe microscopy
  • Two-dimensional electron gas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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