Interference Phenomena in Electronic Transport Through Chaotic Cavities: An Information-Theoretic Approach

Journal Article

We develop a statistical theory describing quantum-mechanical scattering of a particle by a cavity when the geometry is such that the classical dynamics is chaotic. This picture is relevant to a variety of systems, ranging from atomic nuclei to microwave cavities; the main application here is to electronic transport through ballistic microstructures. The theory describes the regime in which there are two distinct time scales, associated with a prompt and an equilibrated response, and is cast in terms of the matrix of scattering amplitudes S. The prompt response is related to the energy average of S which, through ergodicity, is expressed as the average over an ensemble of systems. We use an information-theoretic approach: the ensemble of S-matrices is determined by (1) general physical features-- symmetry, causality, and ergodicity, (2) the specific energy average of S, and (3) the notion of minimum information in the ensemble. This ensemble, known as Poisson's kernel, is meant to describe those situations in which any other information is irrelevant. Thus, one constructs the one-energy statistical distribution of S using only information expressible in terms of S itself without ever invoking the underlying Hamiltonian. This formulation has a remarkable predictive power: from the distribution of S we derive properties of the quantum conductance of cavities, including its average, its fluctuations, and its full distribution in certain cases, both in the absence and presence prompt response. We obtain good agreement with the results of the numerical solution of the Schrodinger equation for cavities in which either prompt response is absent or there are two widely separated time scales. Good agreement with experimental data is obtained once temperature smearing and dephasing effects are taken into account.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Mello, PA; Baranger, HU

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1088/0959-7174/9/2/304