17 September 2018

Pinning and melting of a quantum Wigner crystal

Temperature dependence of the differential resisitivity. Temperature dependence of the differential resisitivity.

This research established experimental evidence for the long sought-after transition of a small, two-dimensional sheet of electrons to a solid state.

What did scientists discover?

Scientists measuring the electrical resistivity of a two-dimensional electron system at ultra-high B/T (magnetic field over temperature) found the first evidence of a clear transition to a Wigner crystal state for the electrons in a high-quality gallium arsenide (GaAs) heterostructure.

Why is this important?

These results reveal a long-predicted quantum ground state arising from strong electron-electron interactions in a nearly ideal, two-dimensional electron system.


This research was conducted in the 16.5 Tesla Superconducting Magnet at the MagLab's High B/T Facility.

Who did the research?

T. Knighton1, Z. Wu1, J. Huang1, A. Serafin2, J.-S. Xia2, K.W. Baldwin3, K.W. West3

1Wayne State University; 2National MagLab and University of Florida; 3Princeton University

Why did they need the MagLab?

Scientists needed two aspects of the High B/T Facility: (1) the access to very low temperatures and high magnetic fields simultaneously, and (2) an ultra-quiet environment for high-sensitivity measurements of the electronic resisitivity.

Details for scientists


This research was funded by the following grants: G.S. Boebinger (NSF DMR-1157490, NSF DMR-1644779); J. Huang (NSF DMR-1410302)

For more information, contact Neil Sullivan.


  • Research Area: Condensed Matter - Other,Semiconductors
  • Research Initiatives: Materials
  • Facility / Program: High B/T
  • Year: 2018
Last modified on 18 September 2018