Impact of Disorder and Topology in Two Dimensional Systems at Low Carrier Densities
Aamir, Mohammed Ali
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Two dimensional (2D) systems with low carrier density is an outstanding platform for studying a wide spectrum of physics. These include both classical and quantum eﬀects, arising from disorder, Coulomb interactions and even non-trivial topological properties of band-structure. In this thesis, we have explored the physics at low carrier number density in GaAs/AlGaAs heterostructure and bilayer graphene, by investigating in a larger phase space using a variety of electrical measurement tools. A two-dimensional electron system (2DES) formed in a GaAs/AlGaAs heterostructure oﬀers an avenue to build a variety of mesoscopic devices, primarily because its surface gates can very eﬀectively control its carrier density profile. In the first half of the thesis, we study the relevance of disorder in two kinds of devices made in a 2DES. A very strong negative gate voltage not only reduces the carrier density of the 2DES, but also drives it to a disordered state. In this state, we explore a new direction in parameter space by increasing in-plane electric field and investigating its magneto-resistance (MR). At suﬃciently strong gate voltage and source-drain bias, we discover a remarkably linear MR. Its enormous magnitude and weak temperature dependence indicate that this is a classical eﬀect of disorder. In another study, we examine a specially designed dual-gated device that can induce low number density in a periodic pattern. By applying appropriate gate voltages, we demonstrate the formation of an electrostatically tunable quantum dot lattice and study the impact of disorder on it. This work is important in paving way for solid state based platform for experimental simulations of artificial solids. The most striking property of bilayer graphene is the ability to open its band gap by a perpendicular electric field, giving the prospects of enabling a large set of de-vice applications. However, despite a band gap, a number of transport mechanisms are still active at very low densities that range from hopping transport through bulk to topologically protected 1D transport at the edges or along 1D crystal dislocations. In the second half of the thesis, we have used higher order statistical moment of resistance/conductance fluctuations, namely the variance of the fluctuations, to complement averaged resistance/conductance, and study and infer the dominant transport mechanism at low densities in a gapped bilayer graphene. Our results show possible evidence of percolative transport and topologically protected edge transport at diﬀerent ranges of low number densities. We also explore the same phase space by studying its mesoscopic conductance fluctuations at very low temperatures. This is the first of its kind systematic experiment in a dual-gated bilayer graphene device. Its conductance fluctuations have several anomalous features suggesting non-universal behaviour which is at odds with conventional disordered systems.
- Physics (PHY) 
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