Stability of Branched Flow from a Quantum Point Contact


Liu, B. & Heller, E.J. Stability of Branched Flow from a Quantum Point Contact. Physical Review Letters 111, 236804 (2013).


In classically chaotic systems, small differences in initial conditions are exponentially magnified over time. However, it was observed experimentally that the (necessarily quantum) ‘‘branched flow’’ pattern of electron flux from a quantum point contact (QPC) traveling over a random background potential in two- dimensional electron gases remains substantially invariant to large changes in initial conditions. Since such a potential is classically chaotic and unstable to changes in initial conditions, it was conjectured that the origin of the observed stability is purely quantum mechanical, with no classical analog. In this Letter, we show that the observed stability is a result of the physics of the quantum point contact and the nature of the experiment. We show that the same stability can indeed be reproduced classically, or quantum mechanically. In addition, we explore the stability of the branched flow with regards to changes in the eigenmodes of the quantum point contact.

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Last updated on 12/17/2013