Year of Publication

2009

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

Dr. Ganpathy Murthy

Abstract

In this thesis, we study persistent currents and quantum critical phenomena in the systems of mesoscopic physics. As an introduction in Chapter 1 we familiarize the reader with the area of mesoscopic physics. We explain how mesoscopic systems are different from quantum systems of single atoms and molecules and bulk systems with an Avogadro number of elements. We also describe some important mesoscopic phenomena.

One of the mathematical tools that we extensively use in our studies is Random Matrix Theorty. This theory is not a part of standard physics courses and for educational purposes we provide the basics of Random Matrix Theory in Chapter 2.

In Chapter 3 we study the persistent current of noninteracting electrons in quantum billiards. We consider simply connected chaotic Robnik-Berry quantum billiard and its annular analog. The electrons move in the presence of a point-like magnetic flux at the center of the billiard. For the simply connected billiard, we find a large diamagnetic contribution to the persistent current at small flux, which is independent of the flux and is proportional to the number of electrons (or equivalently the density since we keep the area fixed). The size of this diamagnetic contribution is much larger than the previously studied mesoscopic fluctuations in the persistent current in the simply connected billiard. This behavior of persistent current can ultimately be traced to the response of the angular-momentum l = 0 levels (neglected in semiclassical expansions) on the unit disk to a point-like flux at its center. We observe the same behavior for the annular billiard when the inner radius is much smaller than the outer one. We also find that the usual fluctuating persistent current and Anderson-like localization due to boundary scattering are seen when the annulus tends to a one-dimensional ring. We explore the conditions for the observability of this phenomenon.

In Chapter 4 we study quantum critical phenomena in a system of two coupled quantum dots connected by a hopping bridge. Both the dots and connecting region are assumed to be in universal Random Matrix crossover regimes between Gaussian orthogonal and unitary ensembles (defined in Chapter 2). We exploit a diagrammatic approach appropriate for energy separations much larger than the level spacing, to obtain the ensemble-averaged one- and two-particle Greens functions. We find that two main components of the twoparticle Green’s function (diffuson and Cooperon) can be described by separate scaling functions. We then use this information to investigate a model interacting system in which one dot has an attractive s-wave reduced Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer interaction, while the other is noninteracting but subject to an orbital magnetic field. We find that the critical temperature TC of the mean-field transition into the superconducting state in the first dot is non-monotonic in the flux through the second dot in a certain regime of interdot coupling. Likewise, the fluctuation magnetization above the critical temperature is also non-monotonic in this regime, can be either diamagnetic or paramagnetic, and can be deduced from the Cooperon scaling function.

We end this thesis with conclusion in Chapter 5.

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