Quantum phase transition in a resonant level coupled to interacting leads.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

A Luttinger liquid is an interacting one-dimensional electronic system, quite distinct from the 'conventional' Fermi liquids formed by interacting electrons in two and three dimensions. Some of the most striking properties of Luttinger liquids are revealed in the process of electron tunnelling. For example, as a function of the applied bias voltage or temperature, the tunnelling current exhibits a non-trivial power-law suppression. (There is no such suppression in a conventional Fermi liquid.) Here, using a carbon nanotube connected to resistive leads, we create a system that emulates tunnelling in a Luttinger liquid, by controlling the interaction of the tunnelling electron with its environment. We further replace a single tunnelling barrier with a double-barrier, resonant-level structure and investigate resonant tunnelling between Luttinger liquids. At low temperatures, we observe perfect transparency of the resonant level embedded in the interacting environment, and the width of the resonance tends to zero. We argue that this behaviour results from many-body physics of interacting electrons, and signals the presence of a quantum phase transition. Given that many parameters, including the interaction strength, can be precisely controlled in our samples, this is an attractive model system for studying quantum critical phenomena in general, with wide-reaching implications for understanding quantum phase transitions in more complex systems, such as cold atoms and strongly correlated bulk materials.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Mebrahtu, HT; Borzenets, IV; Liu, DE; Zheng, H; Bomze, YV; Smirnov, AI; Baranger, HU; Finkelstein, G

Published Date

  • August 2012

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 488 / 7409

Start / End Page

  • 61 - 64

PubMed ID

  • 22859201

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1476-4687

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0028-0836

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/nature11265


  • eng