The Wigner-crystal phase of two-dimensional electrons interacting via the Coulomb repulsion and subject to a strong Rashba spin-orbit coupling is investigated. For low enough electronic densities the spin-orbit band splitting can be larger than the zero-point energy of the lattice vibrations. Then the degeneracy of the lower subband results in a spontaneous symmetry breaking of the vibrational ground state. The 60° rotational symmetry of the triangular (spin-orbit coupling free) structure is lost, and the unit cell of the new lattice contains two electrons. Breaking the rotational symmetry also leads to a (slight) squeezing of the underlying triangular lattice.
|Journal||Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics|
|State||Published - 2 Apr 2014|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics