Effects of randomly distributed impurities on conductance, spin polarization and electronlocalization in realistic gated semiconductor quantum point contacts (QPCs) have beensimulated numerically. To this end density functional theory in the local spin-densityapproximation has been used. In the case when the donor layer is embedded far from thetwo-dimensional electron gas (2DEG) the electrostatic confinement potential exhibits theconventional parabolic form, and thus the usual ballistic transport phenomena take place bothin the devices with split gates alone and with an additional metallic gate on the top.In the opposite case, i.e. when the randomly distributed donors are placed not far away fromthe 2DEG layer, there are drastic changes like the localization of electrons in the vicinity ofconfinement potential minima which give rise to fluctuations in conductance and resonances.The conductance as a function of the voltage applied to the top gate for asymmetricallycharged split gates has been calculated. In this case resonances in conductance caused byrandomly distributed donors are shifted and decrease in amplitude while the anomaliescaused by interaction effects remain unmodified. It has been also shown that for a wide QPCthe polarization can appear in the form of stripes. The importance of partial ionization ofthe random donors and the possibility of short range order among the ionized donors areemphasized. The motivation for this work is to critically evaluate the nature of impurities andhow to guide the design of high-mobility devices.
Funding agencies: Carl Trygger Science Foundation of Sweden [CTS: 13-519]; National Supercomputer Centre at Linkoping University, Sweden