Zero-resistance states induced by electromagnetic-wave excitation in GaAs/AlGaAs heterostructures

Nature. 2002 Dec 12;420(6916):646-50. doi: 10.1038/nature01277.


The observation of vanishing electrical resistance in condensed matter has led to the discovery of new phenomena such as, for example, superconductivity, where a zero-resistance state can be detected in a metal below a transition temperature T(c) (ref. 1). More recently, quantum Hall effects were discovered from investigations of zero-resistance states at low temperatures and high magnetic fields in two-dimensional electron systems (2DESs). In quantum Hall systems and superconductors, zero-resistance states often coincide with the appearance of a gap in the energy spectrum. Here we report the observation of zero-resistance states and energy gaps in a surprising setting: ultrahigh-mobility GaAs/AlGaAs heterostructures that contain a 2DES exhibit vanishing diagonal resistance without Hall resistance quantization at low temperatures and low magnetic fields when the specimen is subjected to electromagnetic wave excitation. Zero-resistance-states occur about magnetic fields B = 4/5 Bf and B = 4/9 Bf, where Bf = 2pifm*/e,m* is the electron mass, e is the electron charge, and f is the electromagnetic-wave frequency. Activated transport measurements on the resistance minima also indicate an energy gap at the Fermi level. The results suggest an unexpected radiation-induced, electronic-state-transition in the GaAs/AlGaAs 2DES.