Polaron Effects and Optic Phonon Scattering in Heterostructures

  • R. J. Nicholas
  • M. A. Hopkins
  • M. A. Brummell
  • D. R. Leadley
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NATO ASI, volume 179)


The interaction of electrons with the optic phonons in semiconductors is one of the most fundamental problems in solid state physics. In ionic crystals we expect a strong interaction with the longitudinal optic (LO) phonon, through the electric field of the polarization wave. The interaction with transverse optic (TO) phonons will be less strong because of their smaller electric field, except at very low wavevector, q, where the electromagnetic coupling may be strong. This coupling was one of the first examples of the use of quantum field theory in solid state physics (1), where the motion of an electron through an ionic solid was described as a composite particle, the polaron, consisting of an electron dressed by a virtual phonon cloud. Work on semiconductor heterostructures has generated new interest in this field, through the possible changes brought about by the electron confinement, the presence of interfaces and the influence of screening. Theoretical work (2–5) predicts that polaron effects in two-dimensional (2-D) systems should be stronger than in the corresponding bulk materials, but the finite wave functions in the third dimension (5–7) and screening (6,8,9) should reduce the coupling. Experiments on various 2-D systems have suggested both enhanced (10) and reduced (9,11–15) effects.


Effective Mass Cyclotron Resonance High Magnetic Field Landau Level Longitudinal Optic Phonon 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. J. Nicholas
    • 1
  • M. A. Hopkins
    • 1
  • M. A. Brummell
    • 1
  • D. R. Leadley
    • 1
  1. 1.Clarendon LaboratoryOxfordUK

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