Monday, April 3, 2017

Abstract-Light-induced electron localization in a quantum Hall system

An insulating bulk state is a prerequisite for the protection of topological edge states1. In quantum Hall systems, the thermal excitation of delocalized electrons is the main route to breaking bulk insulation2. In equilibrium, the only way to achieve a clear bulk gap is to use a high-quality crystal under high magnetic field at low temperature. However, bulk conduction could also be suppressed in a system driven out of equilibrium such that localized states in the Landau levels are selectively occupied. Here we report a transient suppression of bulk conduction induced by terahertz wave excitation between the Landau levels in a GaAs quantum Hall system. Strikingly, the Hall resistivity almost reaches the quantized value at a temperature where the exact quantization is normally disrupted by thermal fluctuations. The electron localization is realized by the long-range potential fluctuations, which are a unique and inherent feature of quantum Hall systems. Our results demonstrate a new means of effecting dynamical control of topology by manipulating bulk conduction using light.

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