Observation of Dynamical Ordering in a Confined Wigner Crystal
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We present measurements of the conduction of nondegenerate free electrons along a low-dimensional channel at low temperatures, using surface-state electrons on liquid helium in novel microelectronic devices. Above 1 K, the electrons form an ideal classical Drude conductor. Below 1 K, Coulomb interactions produce electronic spatial order, leading to strong non-Ohmic effects and negative differential conductivity. Evidence is presented for self-organized current filaments in the channel, created by a nonequilibrium phase transition. Periodic conductance oscillations suggest an anisotropic spatial order with lines of electrons along the channel edges.
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