Charging spectrum and configurations of a Wigner crystal island

A. A. Koulakov, B. I. Shklovskii

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79 Scopus citations


Charging of a clean two-dimensional island is studied in the regime of small concentration of electrons when they form the Wigner crystal. Two forms of electron-electron interaction potential are studied: the pure Coulomb interaction and the exponential interaction corresponding to the screening by a pair of close metallic gates. The electrons are assumed to reside in a parabolic external confining potential. Due to the crystalline symmetry the center of the confinement can be situated at distinct positions with respect to the crystal. With the increasing number of electrons (Formula presented) the center periodically hops from one such a location to another providing the lowest total energy. These events occur with the period (Formula presented). At these moments in the case of the pure Coulomb interaction the charging energy of the island has a negative correction (Formula presented). For the case of the exponential interaction at the moments of switching the capacitance becomes negative and (Formula presented) new electrons enter the island simultaneously. The configurations of disclinations and dislocations in the island are also studied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2352-2367
Number of pages16
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1998


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